British tennis star is finally back in action and marks his comeback with a dramatic victory at Flushing Meadows.
ANDY MURRAY made his long-awaited comeback facing Japanese world No 49, Yoshihito Nishioka, in what turned out to be a lot harder contest that the Brit may have anticipated.
With empty stands, Murray was not able to gather his usual energy from the applause and support of his fans, and was forced to battle back from the brink of defeat to win the entertaining match.
Thanks to his power of recovery, Murray, who was playing his first Grand Slam tournament since the 2019 Australian Open, managed to close out the tight game, beating the Japanese competitor; 4-6 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in a game that lasted four hours and 38 minutes.
Despite the stands being empty, a few notable spectators began to appear outside the hospitality boxes in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, with Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev among those eager to watch the 33-year-old’s return to Gram Slam action.
Fellow Brit Kyle Edmund and Murray’s brother Jamie also looked on.
Speaking on the turnout of other players to watch his match, Murray said, “That for me was one of the things that helped. It’s rare that you have lots of players watching your match.”
“In some ways that can be a little bit distracting if you look up and you’ve got guys that are in the top five, top 10 in the world watching you and stuff,” he continued.
“But for me, I had my father-in-law there. He was up in the suite watching me. I had my brother there with his coach watching. There were a few of the British players that came out to watch and support, as well,” Murray concluded.
Despite the victory, Murray will have some cause for concern as he had to fight back from two sets down, save a match point in the fourth set, and then break back in the fifth.
“I’m tired. My big toes on both sides are pretty beat up,” said Murray, “but I did all right. At the start I was apprehensive about playing a long match and I was pacing myself, like you do in juniors. But once I was two sets down I had to put the afterburners on.”
The British star, who has not played much tennis since 2019, explained, “I had to start striking the ball better. I was a bit tentative. Then I went the other way of taking chances and making errors. But towards the end I started to get the balance right.”
Murray now faces Canadian 15th seed, Felix Auger-Aliassime, in the next round.