The Citizen (KZN)

Murray closes Miami chapter


– Andy Murray (above) exited the Miami Open for the final time on Sunday and in characteri­stic style he did so with a performanc­e full of grit and skill but also plenty of passion.

The emotion of the game itself, a missed chance for a third straight win in a tournament for the first time in over a year, was enhanced by Murray knowing this week was his final appearance in a city he calls his “tennis home”.

The two-time Miami winner who will be 37 in May, lost out in a thrilling third set tie-break to Czech Tomas Machac, managing to battle on after receiving treatment for an ankle injury.

The Scotsman had saved match point in the third before forcing a tie-break, which he led 5-3 before Machac delivered some killer blows to win 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7/5).

It had been three hours and 28 minutes of enthrallin­g tennis, arguably the most entertaini­ng of the tournament so far, albeit strangely on the third level, Butch Buchholz court.

“Obviously a disappoint­ing finish for me but brilliant crowd, brilliant atmosphere, very tight match,” said Murray.

“I was obviously a couple of points away from finishing it and to be fair to him he came out with some big shots, played high risk tennis and that paid off for him,” the Briton said.

Murray’s injury, late in the third set, saw him hop off the court in agony with what at first looked to be a possible Achilles tendon injury but later turned out to be merely a very painful ankle sprain.

But having come through major hip surgery to extend his career, Murray was able to appreciate the value of his performanc­e and his earlier round wins over Italian Matteo Berrettini and Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

“It’s been pretty positive, there were some good signs in my game, definitely an improvemen­t on the last few tournament­s,” added Murray.

“Not perfect but considerin­g everything to be winning matches against the players I did and pushing Thomas like I did, I’m proud of myself because it’s extremely difficult to do what I’m doing with the issue that I have.

“To still be able to compete with these guys is a credit to myself and the work that I’ve done and the effort that I’ve put into this,” he said.

Murray has for years done the bulk of his off-season training in Miami and developed a genuine fondness for the area. –

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa