Andy Murray: Briton beats Stan Wawrinka to win first title since hip surgery
Andy Murray broke down in tears after winning his first singles title since career-saving hip surgery by beating Stan Wawrinka at the European Open.
The Briton, 32, launched a stunning comeback from a set and a break down to win 3-6 6-4 6-4 in Antwerp to take his first title for more than two years.
Murray had surgery in January and was playing in just his seventh tournament since returning to singles.
He described it as “one of the biggest” wins of his career.
“It means a lot,” the three-time Grand Slam champion said. “The last few years have been extremely difficult.
“I didn’t expect to be in this position at all. I’m happy, very happy.”
Fellow Grand Slam champion Wawrinka, who has also had a number of recent injury issues, said: “To see you back at this level, it’s amazing.
“We’re all really happy. I’m sad I lost today but I’m really happy to see you back.”
A title 961 days – and one new hip – later
At the Australian Open in January a tearful Murray said he feared his hip problem would force him to retire after the tournament.
But the Scot made a promising return to doubles action in June and then made his singles comeback in August and in doing so became the first player to resume his career after a hip resurfacing operation.
His comeback had been encouraging, reaching the quarter-finals of the China Open, but on Sunday in Belgium he produced his best performance yet against a fellow Grand Slam champion who was playing close to his best.
Murray played well in the first set but was overcome by Wawrinka’s scintillating hitting which continued into the second set when the Swiss hit four winners to win Murray’s serve for a set and a break lead.
Murray crucially saved two more break points soon after to stop himself falling two breaks behind and then won three games in a row before forcing the decider through his trademark athletic tennis.
Both players looked nervous at the start of the third set with four consecutive breaks of serve but at 4-4 Murray saved two more critical break points, the second seen off with a big first serve.
In the following game, Wawrinka surged ahead but at 40-15 he hit a volley to a Murray lob that looked to be going wide and then Murray hit a running passing shot winner to move to deuce.
Shortly afterwards, on Murray’s first match point, Wawrinka hit a forehand wide and, after the pair embraced at the net, Murray was visibly emotional as he waved to the crowd.
‘Hip hip hurray’ – reaction
Former British number one Greg Rusedski: “Andy Murray has won his first ATP singles title with a metal hip. Incredible effort. What a competitor to win from a set and a break down against Stan the man. Who would have believed it. Amazing.”
Great Britain’s Davis Cup captain Leon Smith: “An astonishing effort Andy Murray. So so proud of you!!!!”