Andy Murray enjoys comeback win in Madrid Open after playing 'smart tennis'

Former world No 1 defeated Dominic Thiem in straight sets

Andy Murray celebrates his victory over Dominic Thiem at the Madrid Open. AP
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Former world No 1 Andy Murray stated he is feeling good about his game, and confident about returning to his best after a solid win over Dominic Thiem at the Madrid Open in what was his first match on clay in nearly two years.

Murray has spent several seasons dealing with hip problems and recovering from surgery in both 2018 and 2019. The British great hadn’t played on clay since the 2020 French Open.

Murray, who initially intended to skip the clay season, made a surprise appearance in Madrid after the hard-court Challengers he was planning to compete at were cancelled.

“I played smart tennis,” Murray said after the 6-3, 6-4 victory. “I used the serve-and-volley a little bit, used a drop shot, used different heights. Yeah, I did well considering, you know, when I did play.”

"I enjoyed it. I prepared really hard before coming here, worked hard and really wanted to go on and put a good performance out there and I feel like I did that."

Murray came to Madrid with a 10-8 record on all courts and hadn’t won more than two matches in his last six tournaments. He reached the Sydney final in January for his best result of the year.

Murray had only 13 unforced errors in the victory against Thiem.

“I felt very clear about how I wanted to play,” he said. “I have worked really hard the last four or five weeks, probably longer than that. Sort of before I went to Indian Wells, I felt like I was starting to become a little bit clearer with what I wanted to do and was therefore maybe more engaged in the practices and believing that I’m doing the right things.”

Murray plans on playing in the Spanish capital, as well as next week's ATP 1000 tournament in Rome before shifting his focus to next month's grass season.

Kevin Anderson announced his retirement from professional tennis on Tuesday. AP

Anderson retires

Meanwhile, former Wimbledon and US Open finalist Kevin Anderson announced his retirement on Tuesday aged 35, bringing to an end a career that showed immense promise but was derailed by injuries.

The big-serving South African achieved a career-high ranking of fifth in the world in 2018 before sliding out of the top 100 following a succession of knee, shoulder and ankle injuries.

"I've experienced so many different challenges and emotions, this sport can be exhilarating and at the same time lonely. I've had ups and downs, but I wouldn't change it for anything," he said in a statement on Twitter.

"My journey helped me become the man who I am today. Today I finally arrived at the difficult decision to retire from professional tennis.

"As a kid, my dad used to tell me that success isn't defined by results, but by the effort and sacrifice you make along the way in becoming the best you can be. I gave it my best."

Updated: May 03, 2022, 4:07 PM