“Once I had two sets, I had to put on the afterburner burners and managed to pass,” he says. “I had to start hitting the ball better. I was hitting it late and was a little hesitant. Then I went there, took too many risks and made too many mistakes. I didn’t have the balance.
Murray added, “My body hurts. I need to recover as well as possible. I need an ice bath now, but they say you can only have one in an emergency. I would say it was an emergency, so I’ll see if I can get one here right away, before heading back to the hotel. This is by far the most tennis I have played since the 2019 Australian Open against Agut.
Murray then faces 20-year-old Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime, who had to fight for three hours and 51 minutes to defeat Brazilian world Thiago Monteiro, 6-3, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (6), 7 -6 (6), while the British No.1 Dan Evans advanced in straight sets against Thiago Seyboth Wild.
Contemporaries who have known Murray his entire career and have seen many returns from him were no less as stunned as the loser watching his performance.
“Absolutely remarkable,” said Tim Henman. “After four hours and almost 40 minutes, it’s going to be difficult. The recovery in the next 36 hours will be very important and we will just have to see how he does.
“What got him through this was his heart. You can watch his performance and the first two sets were very ordinary. Nishioka doesn’t have a big serve but he’s clumsy. Murray could only beat him three times in five sets. It was part of his riddle. He had to find a way. But, as it is when you’re such a big competitor, it’s not necessarily the parts of your game that are pulling, you have to find a solution. And Andy Murray has done it again.
If Murray and Evans win on Thursday, they will meet in the third round – a
good battle of the British.