There they are, rebellious and irreducible, in full hand to hand with the passage of time and challenging (defying each other above all else) until the end. True commendation for seniority. At 37 years old and with three greats in his showcase, in addition to Olympic gold in doubles and the Davis Cup, the Swiss Stan Wawrinka proudly celebrates his return to the Top 100 of the ATP and says that he still aspires to be seeded in the big tournaments; At 36, the Frenchman Richard Gasquet reinvents himself – he signed the coup of the day in Indian Wells with a two-handed backhand pass, a novelty for him – and he puffs out his chest because despite his age, he finished the duel much more complete than Borna Gojo, who is 11 years older than him; And at the forefront of this plausible non-conformity of the old guard is the Scotsman Andy Murray, an indestructible hero who for five years –after announcing his retirement and undergoing surgery several times– has been signing little less than an impossibility.
Contrary to all logic, the Briton not only continues to fight on the track, but also continues to strictly apply the recipe that led him to the top of the circuit, and it already becomes a toothache for Nadal, Federer and Djokovic. That is, self-respect, tactical intelligence and pure resistance. In a meeting with EL PAÍS in May of last year, the man from Dunblane said that then, when he was installed on the 80th rung, he had to assess the position after the hell they had to be able to re-engage in the sport he loves so much: “There are those who tell me that I have to stop, but I’m still there despite the fact that I have many physical complications. I think there are few players capable of competing at this level with the problem I have; Suddenly, my tennis stopped when it was at the highest level. I am proud of what he achieved, because it is not easy. As long as I can, I’m going to try.”
Today, Murray –35 years old to 36, on May 15– is 55th in the world and, if his chassis does not stop him definitively, because that possibility is there, threatening, it would not be unreasonable to think that he could continue ascending to heights. absolutely unimaginable until recently. The Scotsman does not give up, he could have packed up his stuff and gone home, but he is still determined to compete and show that overcoming him costs God and help, and that the essence remains intact. Attest to this is Tomás Etcheverry, a 23-year-old who crashed into him last morning, the marathon runner, the tennis player who has subscribed to great comebacks (6-7(5), 6-1 and 6-4 on this occasion) and long distance. Resolved in 3h 12m the first match in Indian Wells, there are already seven wins resolved in the last round in as many games played this season; nine since October last year, when he came back against the Argentine Pedro Cachín in the embryonic event in Gijón.
“Obviously, I have a series of objectives, but my priority is to give my best every day,” he says. “I don’t think the fact of winning like this is a coincidence. At some point I will lose, but I worked very hard during the preseason; I am in very good shape and very motivated, so even when I am behind on the scoreboard, I keep fighting and trying to find solutions. I know that I am physically and mentally prepared for this type of battle; If I had played these games last year I would not have won them, so we have to give the credit for this to the pre-season and my team, which pushes me. Another brutal match, yes, and another that I have managed to carry out ”, continues the tennis player who ruled in 2016, his sporting climax.
Recent finalist in Doha
Murray’s rings don’t drop. If he must go down in the mud, he does it. The same is inscribed in a challenger -during the return process that began in 2019- that fights in fourth category tournaments to consolidate the progression. I don’t know what will happen in terms of classificationbut I’m going to play a few times on land [a partir de abril] and the main thing for me is Wimbledon. I still believe that I can be competitive in the Grand Slams; in fact, if I didn’t believe that I could achieve important results, I wouldn’t continue playing”, he continues, knowing that in the next season he will face a tough clash with Pablo Carreño, another guerrilla fighter with arms raised, and that his game describes an evident ascending line; the final recently reached in Doha – decided in his favor by Daniil Medvedev – corroborates this.
In Australia, where he advanced to the third round, he has already offered several strategic lessons and underlined his pride. There, the Briton saved a match point in the opening game against Matteo Berrettini – whom he beat after 4h 54m– and also defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis in five sets, after 5h 45m in what became the third latest match of the Tennis history. At an epic pace this year, he avoided five match points against Lorenzo Sonego in Doha and in the emirate he also reduced Alexander Zverev after more than three hours, in addition to turning the pulse with Alexander Muller, depriving Jiri Lehecka of five match points in the semifinals and to win the spotlight again in this first appearance in Indian Wells. Of course, rowing against the current and offering another master class in survival.
In the 10 games he has played in 2023, the champion of three Big leagues he has invested nothing more and nothing less than 31 hours on the slopes; that is, an average of 3h 10m. An indigestion that is knowing glory.
Tsitsipas, without option to 1
“There are times when my level is not what I would like, but I keep a positive attitude and I know how to get ahead. As much as I make mistakes or decide badly, I tell myself that I must continue to the end ”, he highlights in California, the framework of the umpteenth display of his rebellion. Etcheverry won the first set after almost an hour and a half, and even so the Scotsman was able to get up. Down 3-4 in the last set, he made amends for a 15-40 down and counterpunched to advance to the second round. “I was getting frustrated, but I was still there and he made that double fault that gave me the break”, rebuilds Mister Murray, the deserved protagonist of a day in which Spanish tennis scratched its first victory after the first outings of Zapata, Carballés, Munar and Albert Ramos, the latter inferior to Alex Molcan (6-3 and 6-2); The Valencian Pedro Martínez did get it against the Swiss Marc-Andrea Huesler (7-6 (4), 3-6 and 6-4).
In the women’s draw, Nuria Párrizas (6-3 and 7-5 against Elisabetta Cocciaretto) met with Paula Badosa and Rebeca Masarova (4-6, 6-4 and 6-4 against Peyton Stearns) with Bianca Andreescu; Cristina Bucsa, meanwhile, collided with Coco Gauff (6-2 and 6-4).
On the other hand, the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, contender for the world throne in this North American tour on asphalt, said goodbye to his goal by losing to Jordan Thompson 7-6(0), 4-6 and 7-6(5); His options were to win Indian Wells or Miami, and be a finalist in the other. Now, Novak Djokovic is still in command and only Carlos Alcaraz can take it away from him; For this, the Murcian must win the current tournament.
UN 2023 A MARATHON PACE
AC | Madrid
Murray’s seven wins this year:
6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7) and 7-6 (6) to Berrettini (Australia).
4-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3 and 7-5 to Kokkinakis (Australia).
4-6, 6-1 and 7-6 (4) in Sonego (Doha).
7-6 (5), 2-6 and 7-5 in Zverev (Doha).
4-6, 6-1, 6-2 to Muller (Doha).
6-0, 3-6 and 7-6(6) in Lehecka (Doha)
6-7 (5), 6-1 and 6-4 to Etcheverry (Indian Wells).
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