Andy Murray won the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole on Sunday, marking his first ATP Challenger Tour title since 2005 in Binghamton. It was a special moment for the Scot, who with the victory climbed to No. 42 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, his best mark since undergoing hip resurfacing in 2019.
After clinching his triumph, the former World No. 1 enjoyed a special moment with his team including his mother, Judy Murray, who flew to France Sunday morning on a £14.99 ticket.
🤗🤗🤗#ATPChallenger | @JudyMurray pic.twitter.com/gbcg0KXWIp
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) May 7, 2023
Murray knew she could not just turn up without telling Andy without throwing off his preparation, so she gave him a call after he won his semi-final on Saturday.
“I said, ‘Look, I can get a flight and I’m going to come across’. The thing for him and Jamie for that matter is that I’m so used to traveling around the world and having to adapt travel arrangements at the last minute because of all my years on the junior and the women’s tour and the men’s tour,” Murray said. “So nothing fazes me really with travel. They know that I am perfectly capable of looking after myself. I can contact the tournament and say, ‘Could you pick me up and whatever, whatever.’ So they don’t need to bother about me. They know I’ll find a way.”
Murray had been in Portugal on a golfing holiday and returned home Friday morning. When her son won his quarter-final that day, she looked to see if she could find a direct flight, but there were none Saturday. On Sunday morning there was a one-way ticket to Marseille, which is less than 20 miles from Aix-en-Provence. It was an easy decision to book the trip and figure out a flight home later.
The former British Billie Jean King Cup team captain arrived two and a half hours before the final and enjoyed having a look around the grounds. “It was amazing,” she said. “It was a lovely, sunny day and the club is a country club just on the edge of the town… the atmosphere was incredible.”
There were record crowds in Aix-en-Provence. Photo: Jared Wickerham/ATP Tour
Top seed Tommy Paul, the World No. 17, sprinted to a 4-0 lead with the loss of just three points. But Murray showed his trademark resilience.
“Tommy came [with a] real blistering start, firing everything and then Andy started to get into it towards the end of the first set. And then when he broke the first game of the second set, [he] really never looked back from there. But he played really, really well.
“I would have said that clay is probably his least favourite surface. And of course, he hasn’t played much on it since he had the hip surgery. So it was great to see him moving so well. And he always competes well, but it was great to see him playing well.”
It was Murray’s first trophy of any kind since he defeated Stan Wawrinka in the 2019 Antwerp final. They never take such moments for granted, especially after all his physical struggles leading up to and following his hip resurfacing in January 2019.
“Through all of that, nobody knew to what level he would get back to playing again. But what never wavered was his determination to try to get back and give himself a chance to get back and play great tennis again,” Murray said. “He’s incredibly disciplined, and he worked so hard on and off the court to get the best that he can get out of his body, given the fact that he has a metal hip. It was so amazing.”
Fabulous @ATPChallenger event at gorgeous Aix en Provence Country Club. According to TD Arnaud Clement, a record number of spectators across the week – 20k. Previous best attendance was 11k. Incredible support from the local tennis community. @ATPAixenProvenc 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/p7vafYsSEK
— judy murray (@JudyMurray) May 7, 2023
After the match, the team returned to the hotel. Murray was treated by his physio and debriefed with his coach about the match before everyone enjoyed dinner. Judy then played a best-of-five Monopoly Deal Match with her son.
“I managed to beat him 3-1,” Judy said. “He quite fancies himself as a bit of a shark at Monopoly deal. But anyway, there you go.”
At 5 a.m. she left the hotel to return home. It was an enjoyable trip after also traveling to Australia and Doha this year.
“He’s been on the Tour since 2005, so it’s been a long time and I always say to people, ‘I’m surprised I’m still alive’, all that stress that I’ve had because I’ve had Jamie and Andy. I say it’s like a series of mini heart attacks and severe nausea all going on at the same time,” Murray said. “But that’s just the way it is. You wouldn’t have it any other way because they both love the game. They both love competing and that’s why they’re still doing it after all these years. I think lifting a trophy is always a special occasion.
“It’s amazing to think that 18 years later, he’s still going, still fighting. Delighted to [watch him] win yesterday.”
Did You Know?
The Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole was one of two ATP Challenger Tour 175 events held last week. Judy was highly complimentary of the tournament. She spoke to tournament director Arnaud Clement, who first played Murray at the 2005 US Open. The Frenchman told Judy they had a record crowd of 20,000 fans across the week, peaking when Murray played Gael Monfils. Judy was pleased that Andy recognised all that went into the tournament during his champion’s speech.
“He talked about the fans, and all the people from the local community, the local tennis community who had volunteered during the tournament to make it really special,” Judy said. “I think he’s a sort of elder statesman now and I think he can see very clearly how important all the stepping stones are, and having inspirational competition in great, welcoming venues. Whether that’s Futures [ITF World Tennis Tour] level, whether it’s Challenger level, or actually on the Tour. It’s really, really important, because it makes players feel really, really, really special. I liked hearing him saying that.”