Back in January, Andy Murray considered quitting tennis after numerous setbacks with a hip injury that had been bothering him for almost two years. The three-time Grand Slam champion suffered a heartbreaking loss at the Australian Open to Roberto Bautista Agut despite giving his best for more than four hours, announcing his tennis future is unclear and that might have been his last tournament in a career!
In a manner of a true champion, Murray refused to surrender and leave the court in terms that were not his own, undergoing another surgery that resolved the hip problems and allowed him to at least live a normal life with his family.
Eager to make one more push in his beloved sport, Andy returned to the court in June and marked an instant success, winning the doubles crown at Queen's with Feliciano Lopez for a massive boost of confidence ahead of the next couple of events that he also used to gather time on the court and shape-up his strokes.
After early losses in Cincinnati, Winston-Salem and Rafa Nadal Open Challenger, Andy decided to skip the US Open as he wasn't ready for the best-of-five action at that moment, taking more time to rest and embracing better run in Zhuhai, Beijing and Shanghai where he showed positive signs ahead of the last ATP event of the season in Antwerp.
Instead of just building confidence ahead of 2020, the Briton went all the way to topple five rivals and lift the first ATP crown since Dubai 2017, proving his class once again and building the perfect base for an even stronger campaign in the season ahead of us.
Of course, Andy could not have played without ups and downs during the entire week, struggling against Kimmer Coppejans in the first round and raising level versus Pablo Cuevas to find himself in the last eight. There, he had to work hard against Marius Copil, moving through after more than two and a half hours for the first ATP semi-final since Roland Garros 2017!
The young Frenchman also took a set away from Andy who prevailed 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to set the title clash against Stan Wawrinka, standing on the verge of the ATP title just nine months after thinking about calling it a career!
After an incredible battle, Murray ousted Wawrinka 3-6, 6-4 6-4 for the 46th ATP crown and the first since February 2017, making a perfect return and becoming one of the lowest-ranked champions on the Tour in the last ten years or so.
Stan had the match in his hands a couple of times, forging a 6-3, 3-1 advantage, with two more break chances that could have sent him further in front in that fifth game. Andy repelled those and erased two more break points in the ninth game before taking the set 6-4 to set up a decider where Wawrinka was a break in front twice, only to lose the lead in the very next game.
Facing the last obstacles, Andy repelled two break points at 4-4 just like in the second set and moved over the top with a break at 5-4, starting an emotional celebration of one of his most cherished moments in the entire career.
Also, the Briton earned an excellent record, becoming the sixth player in the Open era with 53 ATP finals on hard court, joining his former coach Ivan Lendl in the sixth place of the list behind Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi and Jimmy Connors.
With 450 ATP wins and 34 titles (the US Open and 12 at the Masters 1000 level), Andy stands among the most decorated players on hard courts in the Open era, with plenty more to come in 2020 if he gets back to his level from a couple of years ago.