Only hours before he beat Bernard Tomic to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, Andy Murray was ready to pull out of the tournament and fly home.
His father-in-law, Nigel Sears, had collapsed while watching a match on Saturday and had to be rushed to hospital. The first Murray’s heavily pregnant wife, Kim, knew of her father’s illness was while watching television back in London – she had been watching her husband play on an adjacent court when the commentators broke the news. Worried for both his wife and for Sears, Murray was in no mood to play at first.
“It was tough,” Murray said. “Obviously it depended on Nigel’s health. If the news was not positive, then, no, there was absolutely no chance I would have kept playing.
“It was just making sure that Nigel was OK. You get a bunch of tests and stuff done. It wasn’t that straightforward as on Saturday night going to hospital and everything was fine. It was a tough, tough couple of days. There is a lot of stuff going on right now, back home as well. It has not been easy for anyone.”
Fortunately, Sears recovered quickly and by the time he reached the hospital he was asking about the result of the match he had been watching. He was released from hospital on Sunday and was allowed to fly home last night. That reassured the world No 2 that all would be well and he decided to stay and play on. He beat Tomic yesterday 6-4, 6-4, 7-6.
“Everyone’s just very happy that Nige is doing well,” Murray said, “and that he can be back home with his friends and family, be with Kim, as well, at this time. It will be nice for her, I’m sure.”