By Alison Williamson
Andy Murray added to his 45 career singles titles after victory in Antwerp saw him lift the European Open, his first title for two years.
Playing in only his seventh singles tournament since his return from surgery, Murray has decided to take another look at his goals for the upcoming year and will most likely rest up until the Davis Cup finals to ensure he is fighting fit.
Victory in Antwerp lifted the former Wimbledon Champion up the rankings from 243rd to 127th, a jump that once again makes him British number 1 as he leapfrogged Kyle Edmund in the men’s rankings.
This will be the first time since 2016, that Murray has represented Britain in the finals, after they were given a wildcard for the new, revamped event.
The Finals will include 18 different countries that will complete across six different groups until a winner emerges.
Reflecting on his surprise victory, Murray believes he should have taken a break after his record-breaking season in 2016 which saw him become world number 1 in both the men’s singles and doubles rankings.
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Murray commented on his ‘intense regime’ and the ‘strain’ it had on his health.
“Maybe that year I should have backed off and given myself more rest. It was when I got shingles that I realised, yeah, I’ve overdone it.’”
Instead of taking a break he played on through injury which resulted in nearly all the hip cartilage wearing away and saw Murray split with coach Ivan Lendl on two occasions, the injury also nearly led to the Scotsman retiring from the sport.
Despite this he said that his only regret was not ‘having the surgery sooner to save himself the time and pain.’
Examining his performance in Antwerp, he is looking to be in better form than he was in his winning season of 2016, according to GSA (Global System Activation).
A change to his game, now using his arm, shoulder and wrist to generate pace instead of his back and knee like in previous years, will save him from further injury.
In his victory at Antwerp over the tournament, he won 52% of rallies over four shots, compared to 53% back in 2016. He also has a higher 1st serve percentage compared to the golden year; 60% this year compared to 58% in 2016.
Despite this recent success, he has claimed he is not looking to ‘win titles and climb the rankings, but instead enjoy his profession.’
“I have a second chance that I didn’t expect to get a little while ago”.
Becoming a father for the third time this week, Andy Murray will be one to watch in the upcoming season and is excited to get back on the tour.
He joked, “When I’ve been off the tour, my family has got bigger so I need to get back on the road so we don’t get out of control”.