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Alix Ramsay Shares Her Views On The Tennis Finals At The Queen’s Club • Andy Murray In Dubs With Feliciano Lopez


Andy Murray is back. He is not yet as fast as he wants to be, as strong as he wants to be or as sharp as he wants to be, but he’s back. And now he is in the doubles final of the Fever-Tree Championships – another title is in the offing for the former world No.1.


That the man with the new, tin hip is in the final of his first tournament back after having that new tin hip installed is nothing short of remarkable. But that his partner, the 37-year-old Feliciano Lopez is still standing beside him is nothing short of superhuman.


F-Lo has had a fabulous, if absolutely knackering, week at Queen’s Club. He came to London with a world ranking of No.113 and just three wins on the main tour this year. No matter: he thought that, for all his woes, he could do something on the grass courts this summer and he loves Queen’s Club. And after taking two hours and 16 minutes to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime on Saturday afternoon, he is back in the singles final.


But that was only half of his shift on Saturday. He started against Felix at 4.07pm. He left the court at 8.51pm having won his singles, having won the last few games (14 minutes, three games and a tiebreak) of his doubles quarter-final that had been held over from Friday night, and then somehow – neither he nor Murray is quite sure how – having managed to win his doubles semi-final against Henri Kontinen and John Peers (the defending champions, no less) 7-5, 6-7, 10-7.

Spain's Feliciano Lopez reacts during his semi final match against Felix Auger Aliassime of Canada at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen's Club in London, Britain, 22 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER

Murray was obviously delighted to have reached the final but he was full of praise for his pal and sidekick. For F-Lo to have played so well and for so long was something truly special.


“He did brilliant, really,” Muzz said. “Not just in the way he played but in the way he carried himself at the end of the match and stuff. Big energy. He was getting pumped.


“It was cool for me to see that. He’s been on the tour for, like, 20 years and I appreciate that he’s got a big final in singles to play tomorrow and it’s getting dark and late, second day in a row. But he did really, really well. Yeah, it was a great, great effort from him.”


That winning feeling helps when you are tired but F-Lo could not quite believe what he had been through. He was ecstatically happy to be in two finals but, as the match with Kontinen and Peers wore on, he was beginning to feel it. Often, he did not dare sit down at the change of ends for fear of seizing up and as he and Murray sank to a 4-1 and 0-40 deficit (it was F-Lo’s serve), things were not looking good. But then Kontinen went off the boil, F-Lo found a few last drops of gas in the tank and Muzz nailed a few returns. Job done.


“I think the first hour after my singles I still had the energy from the singles match that I won, and I was so happy,” F-Lo said. “So I put this energy into the beginning of the doubles match. Well, the match that we couldn’t finish yesterday and the first set of the semis after.


“But after one hour, I start to feel a little bit more tired, obviously, because I played a lot and it’s late, you know, and it’s getting cold so my body is a little bit more sore.


“But at the end we managed to won this crazy tiebreak and we are in the finals, and I’m so, so happy.”


Muzz is happy and slightly gobsmacked, too. When he entered the Queen’s draw, he had no idea what the week would hold. He thought he would be the worst player on the court in his opening match – he hadn’t played at all in five months and now he was playing on a new leg – but he looked pretty darned good for all that.


Then, in his second match, the first night nerves had evaporated and he just played as well as he could. When it came to the semi-finals, he gradually began to trust himself to move better (a few scampers into the net to salvage a lost cause were reminiscent of the old Murray as were a few welted returns taken nice and early) and suddenly we were back. The old Muzz was here and he wanted to win.

Britain's Andy Murray in action during his doubles quarter final match with Feliciano Lopez of Spain against Britain's Dan Evans and Ken Skupski at the Fever Tree Championship at Queen's Club in London, Britain, 22 June 2019. EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER

“What Andy showed me is that he basically he’s a great champion,” F-Lo said. “I mean, he went through two surgeries. He’s here playing again. What can I say? He’s a great champion, a great friend.


“I’m learning a lot of things from him. He’s so competitive. He loves winning. He does everything he can in order to perform well.”


Yup, that’s the old Muzz, all right. Some things, new hip or no, never change.


As for that hip, it is doing well. The rest of Muzz, though, is still struggling to catch up with it. This doubles business is not the norm for Scotland’s finest and that brings new – but not major – problems.


“No pain in my hip at all, zero,” he said happily. “My back’s a bit stiff. You know, you’re sort of getting down low for a lot of balls and you’re always kind of in a crouched-over position in doubles a bit more than when you’re in singles. I’m not used to that as much, so my back has been a little bit stiff after some of the matches. My arm is a little bit tired from serving and stuff. But my hip’s been brilliant so far. I don’t feel anything at all. It’s amazing.”


To get yet another Queen’s Club trophy – Muzz has five singles cups already – Muzz and F-Lo must find a way past Rajeev Ram, the world No.25 in doubles and the winner of 18 doubles titles in a 16 year career and Joe Salisbury. Who Joe? He a Brit who comes from Putney, just a stone’s throw down the road from Queen’s. He and Rajeev beat the Bryan brothers 7-6, 7-6.


Joe reckons playing the Muzz will be an “amazing experience”. But with the way that the Muzz has come through this week, Joe’s experience may be amazing but not necessarily successful. Never count that Murray bloke out.

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