34 years old and still running in a metal hip, Andy Murray outlasted Frances Tiafoe in a three hour 45 minute thriller in his opening match in Antwerp.
The 7-6(2) (7)6-7 7-6(8) win gave former World No. 1, currently ranked No. 172 his fifth top 50 scalp of 2021.
It was the longest three-set match of 2021, exceeding the three hour 38 minutes Rafa Nadal took to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona final last April.
Murray, who won this event in 2019 following his latest hip surgery, has won his opening matches in five consecutive tournaments so far this season.
The Scot is scheduled to play the Erste Bank Open in Vienna next week, but recently stated that he will not represent Great Britain in the re-vamped Davis Cup at the end of the season.
In his on-court interview Murray said “I think that’s the first time in my career I’ve played a 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 [match]. I don’t think I’ve ever played a match like that,”
“I think it’s the longest three-set match I’ve played by quite a distance. I’m tired right now, obviously it was an unbelievable battle.”
“Nowadays obviously my body is old now. I’ve played a lot of matches on the Tour. I don’t mind playing long matches, but that was taking it to another level,” Murray said.
“Brilliant match, amazing atmosphere, thanks to everyone who came and supported. It’s just so nice to be back and playing in front of crowds again.” he added.
Murray’s second round opponent on Thursday will be second seed and World No. 14 Diego Schwartzman.
Main photo:- Andy Murray winning first round match at European Open – ©ATPTour.com