ATP

'Rare' Tiafoe epic was unforgettable, says Murray

By Sports Desk October 20, 2021

Andy Murray says he will never forget his memorable clash with Frances Tiafoe at the European Open in Antwerp.

The former world number one saved two match points in the first round match and eventually triumphed 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) in three hours and 45 minutes.

Murray's victory in an epic clash was the longest three-set match of the 2021 ATP season.

The battle had so many twists and turns that Murray, a veteran of 897 matches on tour, ended up having a long debrief with Tiafoe in the locker room afterwards.

Murray revealed it was the first conversation of that nature he had been involved in for more than a decade.

Indeed, the Briton only remembered going back over a match with one of his opponents twice before.

"I spent probably 30 minutes in the locker room afterwards just chatting to Frances," Murray said. "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 - that was kind of rare I would say. 

"I think maybe twice I've had that conversation in the locker room.

"Once was with [Jurgen] Melzer at the US Open after I beat him in five sets [in 2008] and we chatted a bit about the match.

"And then once after playing Jarkko Nieminen [at Wimbledon in 2010] because we were waiting to speak to the Queen after we played." 

Murray faces a tough test in the last 16 as he is due to do battle with second seed Diego Schwartzman.

He hit 21 aces against Tiafoe and totalled 46 winners to just 21 unforced errors, but Tiafoe was also in form with 51 winners to 25 unforced errors.

"The margins were so fine," added Murray. "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.

"There's obviously so much that goes into a match like that."

Schwartzman will go into the next match fresher than Murray as the Argentine received a first-round bye due to his seeding.

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