Former world number one Andy Murray can make a return to the top tier of tennis says Mats Wilander, after battling through a five set epic in the first round of the Australian Open.
It has been three years since Murray last appeared at the Australian Grand Slam when it was thought he would be forced to retire from the sport altogether.
After two major surgeries, various injury set backs and a positive COVID-19 test which kept him from competing at last years tournament, Murray made a winning return beating Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4.
It was a tough test for the former Grand Slam Champion, who is now competing with a metal hip, but Murray showed the spirit and resilience that he is notorious for to beat the big-hitting Georgian in front of a cheering crowd.
Seven-time Grand Slam champion, now Eurosport analyst, Matts Wilander, believes that Murray has both the physical ability and emotional investment to get him right back to the top.
“When Andy Murray was at his best he was emotionally more involved than most players on tour, ” said Wilander.
“He was making the right decision nearly every time. For a player like Andy Murray, he has so many choices in his head before every single shot that he hits.
“How does he make the right choice? He has to feel it in his heart. You’re going to be wrong sometimes, you’re going to be right sometimes, today Andy Murray made some great choices.”
Murray, the 34-year-old three-time Grand Slam champion, has now moved back into the top 100 of the world rankings for the first time since May 2018 when his injury worries began and Wilander believes this could be the start of a major comeback.
“To see Andy Murray out there emotionally involved again, it makes me believe that he’s going to get very close to the top of the game, if not the top.
“Physically, he can hit all the shots possible, emotionally, when he’s invested, when he deals with the crowd the way he did today, he’s so fun to watch.”
Murray will take on Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in the next round.
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