Andy Murray’s previous tour-level win came at the US Open when he defeated Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka in a five-set epic
Andy Murray says he feels like he “steps on the pitch” to play his career after taking a first Tour-level win since August.
The 33-year-old Brit fought hard against the Dutch wildcard Robin Haase at the Rotterdam Open.
Former world number one Murray ranks 123rd after a serious hip injury made him fear that his career was over.
“It’s motivating in a way, but it also brings a bit of extra stress,” he said.
Murray missed the Australian Open last month after testing positive for and coronavirus lost on his ATP Tour comeback last week in Montpellier.
The three-time Grand Slam champion played in an interrupted 2020 season due to only seven games a number of minor injuries and the coronavirus pandemic.
“Every time I lose a match, I’m told to back off, to stop playing, to be done and run out of things,” said Murray after defeating Haase.
“There’s a little more doubt about that. And on top of that, I play with a metal hip, which is difficult.
“It’s a big challenge for me right now and one that I’ll face directly, but it’s not easy.”
Murray showed all his fighting skills to beat Haase, who ranks 19th in the world, in a two and a half hour 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 victory.
Murray was struggling in the opening set when Haase scored confidently and cleanly, but the Scot improved – assisted by opening up loudly and even hitting his forehead – to turn the match around.
He played an excellent tie to win the second and raised his level again after falling 3-0 in the playoff to win six games in a row and claim victory.
“I had really problems with my game for probably an hour and a half,” said Murray, who received a wild card for the game in Rotterdam.
“I got the ball wrong, it was very strange, I wasn’t sure what to do out there. And then I found a way and in the end I actually started to play a little better.”
“The physical side was positive, I played two and a half hours and my hips and groin felt good. But the tennis side – it was average at best.”
Russian fourth Andrey Rublev could be Murray’s next opponent and will face American Marcos Giron on Tuesday to face the British in the second round.
On the previous Monday, British number three Cameron Norrie continued his good start into the 2021 season with a dominant win in the first round against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.
The 25-year-old won the first seven games of the game against Basilashvili in 40th place and scored a 6-0 win 6-3 in just over an hour.
Norrie, who survived qualifying, will next play against Swiss Stan Wawrinka or Russian Karen Khachanov.
Norrie, number 65 in the world, started the new season with the semi-finals of the Delray Beach Open and then reached the third round of the Australian Open