Andy Murray was looking to the future with unabashed optimism after one of the most remarkable achievements of his career.
Murray defeated his old rival Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the European Open in Antwerp to claim his first ATP Tour singles title for more than two-and-a-half years.
The emotional moment came only nine months after Murray shed tears of a very different nature in Australia and admitted right hip problems could force him off court for good.
Instead, he underwent hip resurfacing surgery at the end of January and the operation, something no singles player had attempted to come back from, has been such a success that he is now competing with and beating some of the best players in the world.
Murray returned to the singles court in August, winning his first match last month in China, and the pace of his improvement has taken everyone by surprise, not least the man himself.
He said in quotes reported by The Telegraph: “I need to now start talking more about my future and I am certainly a lot more optimistic now.
“When I spoke to my team before the trip to Asia, I was like, ‘What are the goals here?’ And I was like, ‘I just want to be competitive. I want to feel that when I am on the court I am not getting smashed by guys’.
“I wasn’t thinking, ‘I am going to win tournaments’ or ‘I am going to beat guys like Stan and (Matteo) Berrettini’. So this has come as a surprise to me and my team.”
On court, Murray declared this one of his biggest achievements, and no wonder.
Wawrinka feared for his own career not long ago after needing two knee operations but has slowly returned to the top of the game and his weight of shot looked like being too much for a weary Murray.
The Scot was staring at defeat down a set and with Wawrinka holding break points to lead by 4-1 and a double break in the second.
But Murray did what he does arguably better than anyone, digging in to get back on level terms and seizing his chances when they came.
The 32-year-old, whose ranking will climb more than 100 places to 127, is now expected to take a break until the Davis Cup finals next month while he waits for the birth of his third child.
Murray joked: “I’ll have three kids under four years old. I need to get on the road so we don’t get out of control. I’m excited for the third kid. My wife’s been a huge support for getting me back on the court and making me fight to keep playing.”
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