But there was more to come. Murray was helping out in the first set by some wayward play from his
opponent, but when his level rose, he was still able to equal Tstisipas.
Murray displayed his talent on both wings, striking hard through the ball when necessary and scrambling
about the court with apparent ease.
Murray’s serve fell down after a strong start, but he wasn’t broken until the fourth set.
He also overcame the disappointment of failing to finish the second set – and falling at a crucial time in
his wet trainers – to win the third set convincingly.
Murray was disturbed by the length of Tstisipas’s break between sets, thus the fourth and fifth sets got
away from him.
Whether Tstisipas used the break intentionally or not, he deserves respect for his maturity in the fifth set,
when the crowd was against him and he still managed to play some calm tennis to finish out the match.
Murray, too, should be encouraged by his performance on a platform he obviously enjoyed returning to.
Murray made his Grand Slam debut at the 2012 Usa Open, defeating Novak Djokovic in a dramatic five-set final to win the first of his three majors.
He has frequently expressed his affection for New York, but he has not been able to enjoy the tournament as much as he would have liked in recent years.
He was also unable to compete in 2017 and 2019 due to injuries, and he is defeated in the second round in the other two years.
Murray obviously has a following in New York — he was the crowd favourite from the beginning – and he showed his appreciation by fist-pumping and lifting his arm in joy at every chance.
At the start of the fifth set, he tried to rally the audience by complaining to the umpire and match referee
about Tstisipas taking too long with his bathroom break.
Murray did not forget about the event, and his quick handshake at the end of the match, followed by his
continuing raving as he packed his suitcase, indicated that this defeat would irritate him for just a long
This is why, for those who have wondered why Murray is still playing tennis when he seems to be so far
from his best, and why he is accepting wildcards that might otherwise go to other players.
Murray didn’t need a wildcard to play in the US Open after another former champion, Stan Wawrinka,
withdrew but in front of a sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium,
he demonstrated why he is still competing and putting himself through all of the frustrations and
setbacks he has experienced while rehabbing and trying to return to the top of the game.
The 34-year-old showed glimpses of his greatest form at Wimbledon earlier this summer, winning late-night matches against Nikoloz Basilashvili and Oscar Otte to delight the Centre Court crowd.
But, following a demoralising straight-set loss to Denis Shapovalov in the third round, he seemed to be
Murray was on a different level against Tsitsipas than he was at Wimbledon.
He’s spoke about competing well against some of the best players in practise sessions over the past year, and here was evidence that he can still do it when it counts.
despite his displeasure at being drawn against the third seed in the first round.
Murray would have had a good opportunity to reach the second week of a Slam for the first time since Wimbledon 2017 if he had had a better draw and played like this.
Murray won’t be leaving New York with a victory, but he should be optimistic. If he can sustain this level in the future, there may be brighter days ahead. Hopefully, he remembers to bring them a backup pair of shoes.