Andy Murray had been one of the most promising youngsters at the beginning of the new millennium. Andy made his professional debut at 16 in 2003, reached the Challenger quarter-final and won his first Futures title at home in Glasgow in September.
He had finished the season in the top-600, and there was more to come in 2004 when he won four Futures titles in Spain and Italy, almost cracking the top-400 and setting higher goals ahead of 2005. After making the ATP debut in the spring of 2005 in Barcelona, Andy won seven matches on grass at Queen's, Wimbledon and Newport, reaching the third round on his Major debut and becoming the force to be reckoned with in the years to come.
After a fantastic month that he crowned with the first Challenger title in Aptos, Andy gained almost 200 positions in the rankings and marched towards the top-100 following another Challenger title won in Binghamton. Murray had claimed his first Masters 1000 win in Cincinnati before losing to world no.
4 Marat Safin in three sets, winning one match at the US Open to complete a stellar summer that showed his full potential. Murray's eighth ATP tournament in career came in Bangkok at the end of September, defeating Georg Bastl, Robin Soderling, Robby Ginepri and Paradorn Srichaphan to enter his very first ATP final at 18, facing world no.
1 and the six-time Major winner Roger Federer in the title match. Roger was the dominant figure on the Tour for the second year in a row, proving to be too strong for Murray on October 2, scoring a 6-3, 7-5 win in an hour and 26 minutes to leave the youngster empty-handed despite a solid effort.
Both players struggled to find the first serve, and it was Federer who defended his second serve more efficiently to emerge as a winner, saving two out of three break points and stealing Andy's serve three times from nine opportunities.
In Bangkok 2005, Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray in the title match.
Nothing could separate them in the shortest points, as Andy stayed in touch in service winners and with the first groundstroke after the initial shot.
Roger had the upper hand in the mid-range and longer rallies, constructing the points more effectively and finding the way to break Murray's resistance and secure the triumph in straight sets. The Swiss held at love in the opening game and broke Andy in the next one after a double fault from the youngster who wasted three game points for the worst start.
Roger fired three winners in the third game to confirm his lead, closing it with a backhand down the line winner and building early confidence. Murray got his name on the scoreboard after a backhand error from Roger in the fourth game and reached the first deuce on the return in the next game before Federer brought it home with a smash winner at the net.
Federer could have grabbed the opening set earlier, creating a couple of break chances in the sixth game before Murray fended them off to stay in contention. He reached two deuces on the return in the next game but was yet to create a break opportunity, netting a backhand to send Federer 5-2 up.
The Swiss served for the opener at 5-3 and clinched it with a volley winner after 37 minutes, looking good to win his 11th title of the season. Murray suffered a break at the start of the second set, and Roger opened a 2-0 advantage with a service winner, moving closer and closer to the finish line.
The Briton saved a break point at 1-3 when he forced an error from Roger and finally created some damage on the return a few minutes later, earning two break points with a volley winner. The youngster converted the second following a loose forehand from Roger and held in game seven for his first lead of the encounter.
The more experienced player kept everything under control, though, squandering two break chances in the ninth game but breaking Andy at 5-5 to serve for the title. Murray was still fighting for every point, creating one last break chance that could have sent them into a tie break, denied by a forehand winner from Roger, who crossed the finish line with a service winner for his 11th ATP crown of the season and the 77th win in 80 matches!
Andy had to wait for a few more months before lifting the first ATP title, prevailing over Lleyton Hewitt in San Jose in February 2006 to kick off a fantastic tennis journey.