Andy Murray belied any fresh injury concerns as he defeated Alexandre Muller in 3 absorbing sets to reach the semi-finals in Qatar.
Granted a wild card in Doha, he built on his impressive fourth-round victory over the No.4 seed Alexander Zverev to reach the last four in the Middle Eastern state. He will next face Czech Jiri Lehecka for a place in the championship game.
It is a welcome sight for the Briton to go deep into a tournament despite the lengthy injuries that have bedeviled his career.
There once was a Big Four
It’s incredible that Murray initially inserted himself among Tennis’s Big Three, regularly defeating them to form a quartet of the globe’s best players. His 3 Slam titles – 2 Wimbledons and a US Open – provided a brief respite from the almost total dominance of messieurs Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic.
He won 46 career ATP titles leading up to 2016, the best year of his career, reaching three grand slam finals and annexing gold at the Rio Olympics. Almost the same age as Djokovic, he was set to go head-to-head with the best players of his generation for grand slam titles and the mantle of the best player in the world.
The first signs of injury for Andy Murray
Murray first showed signs of the debilitating hip problems that were to blight his career in 2017. Two major hip surgeries and a metal hip later, it is a modern miracle the Scot can walk unaided, let alone play tennis at an elite level.
Doctors told him he would never play again, but his never-say-die-attitude forced him to question their prognosis. Aided greatly by the support of his ‘rock’ his mum, Judy, Murray began the arduous journey back to the top through intense rehabilitation and self-belief.
Six tough, soul-searching years followed, and the mere fact that he persevered through it all is a measure of the man.
However, even this tough, bionic man has acknowledged that he is one severe injury away from retirement. Such brutal honesty endears him to his adoring fans and even casual observers, who understand the next tournament could be his last.
Win or lose on Friday – Andy Murray must be celebrated. Just as we fete Novak Djokovic’s achievements in the face of adversity, we should acknowledge this man’s courage.
A lesser man would have thrown in the towel a long time ago.