Andy Murray will begin his quest for Australian Open glory on Tuesday. Ahead of that match, we look at the Scotsman’s most epic contests in the competition throughout the years.
2007: Murray defeats Albert Martin 6-0, 6-0, 6-1 in the first round
This was Murray’s first win in the Australian Open and he achieved it in some style, almost recording a triple bagel over the then world No.58.
He was up 6-0, 6-0, 5-0 up on the Spaniard before his bedraggled opponent mustered enough points to hold his serve.
“You probably get one chance to win a match in your lifetime 6-0 6-0 6-0,” said Murray afterwards. “I wanted to win love, love and love but let it slip a little bit.”
2007: Murray loses to Rafael Nadal 6-7, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the fourth round
This was one of the matches when Murray convinced the world that he would be able to challenge the best. In a rousing contest that went beyond the midnight mark in Melbourne, Murray went 2-1 up on the Spanish world No.2 before stamina and ultimately experience got the better of him.
“It was probably the best I have ever played,” Murray said. “I learnt that I could hit a lot harder than I thought I could, consistently.”
For his part, Nadal knew Murray was about to become a real threat for years to come. “It was very tough and he’s a great player, he’s playing at an unbelievable level,” said the Spaniard. “Andy played with very good tactics.”
2008: Murray loses to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 in the first round
After his exploits the previous year, 2008 was supposed to be the start of Murray’s sustained challenges in Slams. It was therefore something of a shock when then world No.38 downed the Scot in four sets.
Tsonga was a relative unknown at this point, but he ended up making the final, no doubt fuelled by this success.
The Frenchman played with extreme power, dominating on serve and with his forehand, and was only denied in the final by Novak Djokovic.
2010: Murray defeats Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the semi-finals
Murray ousted the big Croat to make his first final in Melbourne, although he had to pull himself out of a hole. Cilic, a huge underdog for the encounter, was up a set and break against a flailing Murray who could neither find his serve or his groundstrokes before he pulled himself together and battled back for victory.
“Marin showed incredible guts, he had played three five-setters here,” said Murray afterwards. “He made it so tough for me and he was so clearly tired after his hard week. After losing the first set I just went for my shots.”
2010: Murray loses to Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 in the final
With many expecting Murray to break his Slam duck in this final, he ended up putting in an underwhelming performance as Federer won in straight sets.
Murray was emotional afterwards and said through tears: “I can cry like Roger, it’s a shame I can’t play like him. I’d like to congratulate Roger, his achievements in tennis are incredible. To keep doing it year after year is pretty special. He was much better than me tonight so well done to him for that.”
Federer responded: “Andy, well done for your incredible tournament. You’re too good a player not to win a Grand Slam so don’t worry about it.” How right he was ...
2012: Murray loses to Novak Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-7, 6-1, 7-5 in the semi-finals
One of the classic Australian Open semi-finals. In a titanic battle lasting just under five hours, Djokovic roared back from 2-1 down, showing incredible strength and stamina to quell the Scot’s charge.
“I’m extremely delighted to be in another final,” said Djokovic, who was visibly shattered when Murray led 2-1. “It was a physical match. Andy deserves credit for coming back. He was fighting, I was fighting. It was one of the best matches I’ve played.”
A drained Murray said: “I feel now like I’m ready mentally [to challenge the top three].”
2013: Murray defeats Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 in the quarter-finals
For large parts of this match, Murray had Federer on toast, but the Swiss clung on like a limpet to force a fifth set in a match lasting more than four hours.
Murray served 21 aces, but crumpled when serving for the match in the fourth set, allowing Federer back in. Ultimately though, Murray was too strong in one of his best Australian Open performances.
“It’s always tough against him, when he plays in Slams is when he plays his best tennis,” said Murray. “When his back was against the wall at 6-5 and I was serving, he came up with some unbelievable shots. I just had to keep fighting.”
Federer said: “Obviously you’re going to go through a five-setter with some regrets. But overall, I think Andy was a bit better than I was.”
2015: Murray defeats Tomas Berdych 6-7, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 in the semi-finals
This was a tempestuous affair. Murray’s former coach Dani Vallverdu was in Berdych’s box and the match had plenty of needle. The highlight, however, was an astonishing outburst from Murray’s then fiancee Kim Sears during the first set, when she was caught on camera apparently saying “’F***** have that you Czech flash f***” after Murray won a gruelling rally. After he lost the first set in a tie-break, Murray put on the after-burners and won serenely in four sets.
“There was a little bit of extra tension - it was a big match,” said Murray. “A lot was made about Dani Vallverdu, my former coach, working with Tomas. But we’ve been friends since we were 15 years old and I felt that the focus was unfair and unnecessary. This is sport - and there’s more to life than sport. It created a bit of extra tension but everyone calmed down after start of the match.”
On Kim’s outburst, Murray added: “In the heat of the moment, you can say stuff that you regret.”
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