Andy Murray won’t forget his match-winning drop shot in a hurry after three hours and 45 minutes of battle at the European Open on Tuesday. The Scot eked out a narrow 7-6(2), 6-7(7), 7-6(8) victory against 23-year-old Frances Tiafoe in Antwerp.
But beyond the final point won – which set a second-round clash with second seed Diego Schwartzman – it was not the nature of victory that stuck with the former World No. 1. It was more about a lengthy debrief he shared with his opponent in the immediate aftermath.
“There’s obviously so much that goes into a match like that. The margins were so fine,” Murray said. “I served particularly well at the end, which helped, and when he missed his first serve on that match point.
“I was able to capitalise on that and then in terms of what I’ll remember, I just spent probably 30 minutes in the locker room afterwards just chatting to Frances really.”
Murray recalled only twice from 897 previous tour-level matches in his career having spoken to his opponent after the match in the locker room – both times in victory. The first time was after the opening round of the 2008 US Open and the only other time came after the second round at Wimbledon in 2010.
“I think maybe once I’ve had that conversation… twice, but very short after matches in the locker room,” he said. “Once was with Melzer at the US Open after I beat him in five sets and we chatted a bit about the match, and then once after playing Jarkko Nieminen because we were waiting to speak to the Queen after we played. We were sort of standing next to each other, so we had a chat about the match.”
“[I had] a long chat with Frances afterwards so I’ll probably remember that and then the embrace at the end. I guess so much went into it that I don’t remember loads of points in the match, but obviously the end was special. I’ve never played a match like that on the tour really… In the locker room we had a much more in-depth chat about tennis, not so much the match… That was kind of rare I would say.”