British No. 1 Andy Murray exited the Australian Open in the quarter-final stage, following a four-set loss to 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. While the opening two sets were dominated by the Swiss No. 1, Murray mounted the pressure in the third frame, breaking serve and saving two match points in the tiebreak to force a fourth set.
While he was not victorious on Wednesday night, Murray will leave Melbourne with several positive factors. The Brit never expected to win the title this season and believes that his strong performances in Melbourne mean that he is well on his way to regaining top form.
“I don’t know how many players have come back from surgery and won the first Grand Slam back in their second tournament,” said the Dunblane native. “[It was] very unlikely to happen. I just need to use this as a steppingstone to getting better and be happy that I’ve got through five matches. The last two were particularly tough. I’m playing at a decent level fairly quickly again. Hopefully I’ll be back playing my best tennis soon.”
In the off season, Murray took part in a training camp in Miami to prepare himself for the Australian Open. Considering the effort he placed into his preparation for the event, he was ultimately satisfied with his performance against Federer, who is known for his high intensity and quick play during a match.
“I got myself in good shape to play in this event. I was able to push very hard for three and a half hours. It was a very high quality, high intensity match. Obviously Roger plays a pretty high tempo, so the points are fairly quick fire. The ball’s coming at you quickly. I dealt with that fairly well. So you never know. With a few things that you can tweak here and there, maybe you could have found a few extra per cent.”
The world No. 4 is realistic in his expectations on himself and while he is disappointed in his abrupt exit from the event, he admits that he has come a long way since his back surgery and is relieved that he is not far from his old form.
“I’ve come a long way in four months,” said Murray. “Obviously right now I’m very disappointed. There’s maybe some things I would have done a bit differently if I was ever to have surgery again. But it’s the first time I ever went through something like that. I thought I did a good job getting myself in good shape to be competitive at this level. I wasn’t too far away in the end.”