Things could not have gone much worse for Andy Murray in the past two years, but in the past few days they could hardly have gone better.
In harness with 37 year-old Feliciano Lopez he is a winner again on the ATP Tour at Queen’s Club, not in the style he is accustomed to, but it was a sweet sensation nonetheless.
To add to his five singles titles here there is a doubles trophy after he and the Spaniard defeated Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram 7-6 5-7 10-5 to take the Fever Tree Championships.
Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez won the Queen’s club doubles title on Sunday evening
Murray and Lopez celebrated their triumph after defeating Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury
The pair embraced following a 10-5 final set victory at the Queen’s club championship
‘He was brilliant, it was an amzing win in the singles and at the end of this he came up with brilliant returns and winners,’ said Murray. ‘I’ve really enjoyed and felt very relaxed, I felt my competitive insticnits were kicking in, my hip felt great. I’ll try to keep progressing from here.
‘I am so happy for this man playing with me,’ said Lopez after a Herculean effort that saw him play five matches over the weekend in total.
Now it is on to Eastbourne for Murray, where he will play with Brazilian Marcelo Melo in the first round against the same opponents he beat last Thursday, Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal.
Murray was broken to fifteen at 3-3 in the first set, and there is no question that his serve is still well short of where he would like it, especially his second delivery, which looked vulnerable like in days long gone by.
There was also a return of him chuntering at times to his box, although this has to be taken as a sign that his competitive juices are flowing again. At the changeovers Lopez was staying on his feet, not wanting to get stiff after his weekend exertions.
Murray celebrates enthusiastically after winning his sixth Queen’s title (five of them singles)
Murray and Lopez won the first-set tiebreak despite their opponents serving for the match
Salisbury, for whom this size of occasion is still new, faltered when he served for the set at 5-4, pressurised by the Murray return, which looks extremely sharp.
Still, the doubles specialists should still have taken the first set from 5-2 up, but again the more prestigious duo fronted up under pressure and came back to win it 8-6.
They forced three break points at 3-3 in the second against the Ram serve, but the American held firm. It proved worth his while as the Murray serve was broken for the second time to send it into a deciding tiebreak.
With rain threatening and under murky skies and clock going to 7.30pm they got ahead for 8-4 as Lopez reeled off winner after winner, and finished it off with a service winner from the twice Wimbledon champion.
Lopez (left) had won the Queen’s singles title before throwing himself into the doubles final
Britain’s Joe Sailsbury and his partner Rajeev Ram failed to capitalise on going a break up
Lopez had earlier eked out his second singles title at this venue in three years, beating the human wall that is Gilles Simon 6-2 6-7 7-6 in two hours and 49 minutes.
Watching it you could only recall the days when these grass court matches involved two players rushing into the net after their serves, rather than grinding away from the baseline in a war of attrition.
It was reckoned to be the first time that a Tournament Director – Lopez has that title at the Madrid Open as he prepares to wind down his career – has won a fellow tour event.
The slowing of conditions makes it look like they are almost playing on a clay court, further evidence that the uniformity of surface speeds on tour has gone too far.