It certainly seemed that way when, after Pella mishit a forehand on the opening point of his second service game, Murray’s alertness level appeared to rise that vital fraction and he was to break to 30.
That let him relax slightly and, when the opportunity arose, take advantage of having the upper hand in points by running Pella around and seeking to reduce the advantage he had begun with in terms of relative freshness.
Two breaks of serve in the second set put Murray in complete control, but as he pulled back his foot to stretch after holding serve to level things at the beginning of the third set a new sense of urgency entered proceedings.
Murray had still seemed in reasonable fettle when, as Pella and his captain Daniel Orsanic trudged off to the toilets at the end of the second set, the Scot jogged past them and returned much more briskly too, but three games later it became evident that all was not well.
That he came back from the medical time-out, broke serve at the first opportunity, then served his way to victory spoke to his commitment, while he paid tribute to the contribution of the home support, saying: “I never worry that, when I get out there, I’m going to feel flat. You just can’t feel that way when you have that intense an atmosphere.”
Consequently, pulling out of the match was never a consideration.
“I was still moving okay, it was just the pain and when you get pain in your body that distracts you, you start worrying about that rather than hitting the ball, the tactics and what you are trying to do in the match.
“I wasn’t thinking about withdrawing, I was more concerned about how my leg was.”
An opportunity for some muchneeded rest now presents itself and the hope must be that no more than that will be required after his brutal summer schedule, but Murray admitted that this is unknown territory for him, adding: “I have never had any muscle injuries before. The two matches that I had to withdraw from, one was a wrist and one was my back, and that was the joint, so I have never had a sharp pain in my muscle before so that was worrying for me.”
beat Guido Pella in yesterday’s opening rubber.