Emotions run high as Andy Murray makes a winning comeback
Britain's World No. 832 relieved by winning return to hardcourts after near 17-month absence due to hip injury; beats USA's McDonald in Rd 1
An emotional Andy Murray made a triumphant return to hardcourts on Monday in his first match on the surface for nearly 17 months, outlasting Mackenzie McDonald at the ATP Washington Open. The three-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1, who missed 11 months with a right hip injury and surgery last January, defeated the 80th-ranked American 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Murray, who has fallen to 832nd in the rankings, needed seven match points to subdue McDonald, squandering five before being broken in the 10th game of the final set before breaking back and finally ending matters after two hours and 37 minutes. "I fought hard and I had to," Murray said. "The movements and stuff were fine. I didn't break down. It lasted pretty well." The Scotsman, 31, unleashed a primal scream and a right fist-pumping frenzy of joy after McDonald hit a forehand long on the final point.
"I enjoyed getting through that one. You could see it in the celebration," Murray said. "That was a tough match. It could have gone either way. It was nice to get it." Murray had not played in a hardcourt match since March 2017 at Indian Wells, where he lost in his opening match. "I hadn't played in darkness or under the lights in a really long time and I felt my rhythm was off," Murray said.
"I was struggling on my serve. I cut the unforced errors a little bit in the second set and started serving better." Murray booked a second-round match against British fourth seed Kyle Edmund, who had an opening bye. "I'll have to play much better if I want to win that match, more aggressively," Murray said. "It will help having one more match under my belt."
It was Murray's first experience with a serve clock, which will be used at the US Open this year. "Without a shot clock, that would have been a three-hour match," Murray said. "It's a positive change for tennis." After making his return from hip surgery last month at Queens and Eastbourne, Murray skipped Wimbledon and began preparing for the hardcourt campaign.
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