‘I have hardly played on it!’ – Andy Murray storms to first clay win in five years
Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, who hadn’t played on clay in two years, clinched a convincing victory over former world number three Dominic Thiem to reach the second round of the Madrid Open.
The 2015 Madrid Masters champion Murray beat the former US Open champion Thiem comfortably in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 on Monday to win his first match since his 2017 French Open quarter-final match against Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
The former British number one’s last clay-court match came also at Roland Garros back in 2020, and had initially planned miss the clay court swing and instead train specifically for the grass-court season and Wimbledon.
However, he reversed his decision and decided to return to clay after being given a wildcard to the event.
Despite his time away from the surface, he showed he was value for his wildcard with a very dominant performance.
In particular, Murray excelled with his serve which included nine aces, and also saved all three break points he faced, with all three coming in in his opening service game of the second set. He also won 78% of his first-serve points in the one-hour, 42-minute contest.
Reflecting on his performance, Andy Murray stated that he felt “more comfortable” than he normally does on clay and was happy with how he played.
The Scot told reporters in an interview following the match, “I enjoyed it. I prepared really hard before coming here.
“I worked hard and really wanted to go out and put a good performance out there. I feel like I did that. When I played a couple of years ago on the clay, I was struggling a little bit with my groin. My body felt really good in the last few weeks and tonight I felt like I moved well and I played a really good match.
“I do feel like I have started to play some better tennis, and I’m definitely moving better and moved very well tonight.
“That’s a really important part of my game. It allows me to concentrate on the strategy a little bit more when I’m out there.
“I was just really happy all around with how I competed, how I played, how I moved, how my body felt.”
“I have hardly played on it [clay] for the last five years really. I did four weeks training so felt more comfortable than I usually do.
“I played well. I thought Dominic was playing well at times but he has obviously just started playing again as well.”
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