'Amazing' - Murray stunned by comeback title... what can he now achieve?
Andy Murray has described his own comeback as "amazing" after he clinched his first ATP title in over two years. How incredible has it been, what can he now achieve and how has the tennis world reacted to the Brit's latest achievement?
Murray took his remarkable comeback to a new level with a fairytale 3-6 6-4 6-4 win over Stanislas Wawrinka to win the European Open in Antwerp.
Playing in his first final since he beat Fernando Verdasco to lift the Dubai Championship way back in March 2017, the Brit was inspired as he took victory over the Swiss.
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Murray broke down in tears after winning the match point and was clearly emotional after claiming a title he admitted even he was 'amazed' to take home.
The 32-year-old, who underwent career-threatening hip surgery after the Australian Open, has endured a gruelling recovery but finally has another trophy to show for his efforts.
"It means a lot. Last few years have been extremely difficult," he said.
"Both me and Stan have had a lot of injury problems in the last couple of years and [it was] amazing to be back playing against him in a final like that.
"I think it was a great match, Stan was playing unbelievable - hitting winners from all over the court. I just managed to hang in a bit at the end of the second set and the third set was extremely close again.
" I didn’t expect to be in this position at all, so I’m very, very happy. To win another tournament...I don't think any of us expected this."
"Thank you for everyone who came out to support the event. I’m very proud of the win this week."
Reaction from tennis world
Key Murray comeback dates
- January 11: Announces he might retire if hip surgery does not go well
- January 28: Undergoes hip surgery following Australian Open
- April 2: Returns to court and announces he is pain free
- June 20: Makes winning return to match action in doubles at Queen's
- August 12: Returns to court in singles action in Cincinnati
- October 20: Wins European Open in Antwerp
How significant was this victory?
Murray's emotions demonstrated just how monumental - and surprising - his win over Wawrinka was in the context of his comeback: not only in isolation, but with it bringing his first singles title since returning following surgery.
As noted by tennis writer Tumaini Carayol, it was somewhat fitting that Murray was able to overcome the Swiss after their respective comebacks with the pair both having to undergo surgery as a result of their epic five-set Roland Garros semi-final in 2017.
The victory demonstrated that Murray is finally now back to being not only competitive at the highest level once more, but capable of collecting silverware and challenging in top ATP Tour tournaments.
What can he now achieve?
No one really knows, but Murray's triumph in Antwerp demonstrated two things that few were previously convinced of: that he could beat a truly top player, of which Wawrinka is certainly one; and that he could physically sustain the level of play required over the course of a week to win a singles title again.
The obvious next big challenge for the 32-year-old will be the Australian Open in the new year, but before that he will have a hugely significant off-season to contend with - one which could define the level to which he could reach in Melbourne. Will he go back to his intense winter workouts in Miami, or do something completely different to condition for next season?
Everyone will want to now speculate about Murray's prospects at Melbourne Park, but there is still a long way to go on that front. However, he has at least shown that he certainly still has the desire and drive to succeed - and seemingly, and most crucially, has the fitness and physical durability with which to do so.