Andy Murray earned moral victory against Alexander Zverev despite Indian Wells exit

Andy Murray says he's in the 'bad books' after losing ring

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Andy Murray lost a tight two-set tussle against world No 4 Alexander Zverev in Indian Wells on Tuesday. Despite being critical of his own performance, many called it one of the best since the Brit’s hip resurfacing surgery in 2019. Former world No 4 James Blake has now weighed in and said that Murray earned the “moral victory” despite losing the match.

Murray was competing in Indian Wells for the first time since March 2017 – long before he has consistently been sidelined with an ongoing hip injury that resulted in him undergoing two surgeries.

He beat Adrian Mannarino and 30th seed Carlos Alcaraz en route to the third round, with his match over the young Spaniard regarded as one of the best of his comeback, as he managed to fight from a set down to win 5-7 6-3 6-2, having led by a break in the opener.

The current world No 121 then faced his toughest test in world No 4 and recent Olympic gold medallist Zverev, but went into the match with a 2-0 record in his favour against the German.

Having led by a break in both sets, Murray ultimately crashed out in straights, but pushed the German to the limit and held his own against a top player for over two hours.

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The three-time Grand Slam champion showed his gritty never-say-die attitude, digging deep in the same manner he used to win the biggest titles with, and even managed to nab a crucial break as Zverev served for the match.

Holding on until the very end, the third seed eventually got the better of Murray for the first time in his career, winning 6-4 7-6(4) in two hours and seven minutes.

Although Murray criticised his performance, saying he didn’t believe he “played well”, contradicting the opinion of many pundits and fans, he has now been praised for getting a “moral victory”.

Former professional player-turned-pundit Blake pointed out that it was a win for Murray to make a full recovery after a three hour, three-set victory over Alcaraz in the second round, and managing to produce the level he showed against Zverev.

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“For Andy Murray, coming off a three hour match and coming back and that knowing his body can recover that quickly, that’s a huge moral victory,” the ten-time title winner said on Tennis Channel.

“As far as the tennis, he knows he can play better and I think that’s a huge positive that he can take from this – that he’s competing with 4 in the world even when he’s not playing his best tennis.”

Although he was unhappy with his performance, Murray admitted that he felt good physically during the match.

“There was some good stuff in there, but it was mixed in with bad,” the former world No 1 said while giving his verdict on the match.

“There was no consistency I don’t think. My average level was just not really there today. It was either good or bad. Yeah, I wouldn’t put that down as playing really well.

“The positive for me to take from it is I obviously had opportunities again. Yeah, I mean, I guess that’s positive. I didn’t feel like I played a great match and still had chances, so that’s positive.”

Murray also added: “This is physically the best I’ve felt for a while.”

Despite an impressive showing in the Californian desert, Murray will now tumble down the rankings and fall outside of the world’s top 170, as his 250 ranking points from his European Open title victory in Antwerp two years ago are now due to come off his tally.
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