Munich (Germany): Andy Murray described his first clay-court victory as an "honour" as he ended a 39-year wait for a British winner on the surface by taking the BMW Open in Munich.
Andy Murray poses with the winner's trophy in Munich yesterday. Pic/AFP
The 27-year-old, playing in his first tournament since marrying long-term girlfriend Kim Sears last month, was pushed all the way by Philipp Kohlschreiber, but came through to take the win in just over three hours.
Murray was forced to wait for his maiden clay crown after rain ended hopes of the final being concluded on Sunday and home favourite Kohlschreiber made sure it was not all plain sailing for the world number three before Murray eventually recorded a 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 7-6 (7/4) win.
As he builds up to the French Open, Murray was pleased to break his duck on clay — almost 40 years since Buster Mottram took Britain's last tour win on the dirt.
"It was a really tough match, he served very close to the line and I was getting frustrated," Murray said after collecting his 32nd career title.
'It's an honour'
"The rain made things really tough, but as a Scot I'm used to that. It's been a hard couple of days, so I am very happy to have won, especially on clay.
"I didn't realise I was the first Brit to win on clay for so long, so that's obviously an honour."
Resuming yesterday with Kohlschreiber, seeded fifth in Munich, holding a 3-2 lead, Murray fought back to take the first set on a tie-break, wrapping up the set with a fine cross-court backhand.
But Kohlschreiber, a two-time winner of the BMW Open whose fifth and last tour title came almost 12 months ago on clay in Dusseldorf, fought back in the second, the 31-year-old drawing level with the top-seeded Murray.
Much like their meeting in the third round of last year's French Open, this contest was to go the distance as the pair traded service games in the decider, resulting in a final-set tie-break and taking the game over the three-hour mark.
Murray eventually pulled away from Kohlschreiber to seal victory.