Andy Murray declared himself “unbelievably happy” after upsetting 13th seed Matteo Berrettini in the first round of the Australian Open today.
Murray, 35, pushed himself to his physical limit in a gruelling match that he eventually won 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-6).
“I will be feeling it this evening and tomorrow but right now I’m unbelievably happy and proud of myself,” said the Briton.
“I’ve been working to give myself the opportunity to perform in matches like this and against players like Matteo. It paid off tonight.
“I was a bit lucky at the end with the net cord, but it felt like some of the tennis was really good. He’s an unbelievable player and one of the best competitors.”
In his 15th Australian Open, Murray made it to the second round for the only the second time since 2017 with a display of typical grit.
It was also his first win over a player ranked in the world top 20 at a Grand Slam tournament for six years.
As so often at the biggest events, however, he was forced to fight to the bitter end in a five-set epic that looked like it could either way until the very last moments.
The former world No1 raced into a two-set lead but was forced to a decider and then hung on for a final-set tie-break in a contest that lasted more than four hours.
Murray, who has reached the Australian Open final five times without winning it, clinched victory in fortunate fashion when his return of serve clipped the net and dropped over.
The three-time Grand Slam winner is drawn to play another Italian Fabio Fognini or home favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round.
Fellow Briton Dan Evans, seeded 25th in Melbourne, also progressed with a 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-4 win over Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis.