London: Andy Murray made history at Queen’s Club as the defending champion fought back to win the Wimbledon warm-up event for a record fifth time with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-3 victory over Milos Raonic yesterday.
World No 2 Andy Murray celebrates a point against Canada’s Milos Raonic during the Queen’s Club final in London yesterday. Pic/AFP
Murray was on the ropes for a set and a half, but the World No 2 staged a gritty revival to surpass a group of eight four-time Queen’s champions including John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt.
The 29-year-old survived 14 aces from Raonic to finally subdue the Canadian third seed in two hours and 13 minutes, in the process becoming the first player to successfully defend the title since Roddick in 2005. He recovered from 3-0 down in the second set and now has a remarkable 30-5 match record on the grass at Queen’s, a venue that has remained close to the Scot’s heart since he secured the first ATP Tour match win of his career against Santiago Ventura in 2005.
“This tournament has loads of history with unbelievable crowds and a strong field. To win here for a fifth time means a lot for me,” Murray said. “Milos has a huge serve and sometimes it’s just too good. I was guessing a bit but I got more of a feel for the speed of it as the match went on.”
It was Murray’s 37th career title and his second of 2016 as the former Wimbledon champion erased the bitter taste of French Open defeat against Novak Djokovic.
Despite picking up the trophy, a cheque for £322,126 ($460,000, 410,000 euros) and 500 ranking points, the most significant prize of the week for Murray is the knowledge he is in peak form ahead of his bid to dethrone Djokovic at Wimbledon, which gets starts from June 27.