Editor’s Note: ATPTour.com is resurfacing features to bring fans closer to their favourite players during the current suspension in tournament play. This story was originally published on 4 May 2015.
Then the World No. 3, he won a rain-interrupted Munich final, carried over from Sunday to Monday due to rain, with a 7-6(4), 5-7, 7-6(4) victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber in three hours and four minutes. The German has since won a record third title at the event.
Murray, who at the time improved to 32-16 in tour-level finals, received €80,000 in prize money and earned 250 FedEx ATP Ranking points. He became the first British player to win a clay-court singles title since Buster Mottram at 1976 Palma.
“It means a lot to have won,” said Murray. “It was my first final on the clay, having lost a few semi-finals at Roland Garros, Rome and Monte-Carlo. We played a very high standard match. I just managed to hang on at the end.
“He served unbelievably well. I had very few chances when I was returning. We may even play one another in Madrid, in a few days’ time [this week]. Philipp is a superb competitor and fought right to the end. It is nice to have won my first clay title and I hope to win another one soon.”
Murray’s clay breakthrough proved to just be the start of an impressive stretch on the surface for him. The following week, he won the Mutua Madrid Open with the loss of only one set. Murray claimed his first ATP Masters 1000 title with a run that included victories against Kohlschreiber, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori and Rafael Nadal.
The momentum he carried into Madrid could be attributed to the confidence he earned in a tense Munich final against Kohlschreiber.
There were no break points for Murray or Kohlschreiber in the 58-minute opener, which resumed with top-seeded Brit serving at 2-3. Overall, Murray won 24 of his 28 first service points, while fifth seed Kohlschreiber won 21 of 23 in the first set.
In the second set, Murray saved two break points in a 16-point third game. Murray and Kohlschreiber then exchanged service breaks, prior to Kohlschreiber bouncing back from 0/40 at 3-4.
Kohlschreiber broke Murray to 15 for a 6-5 lead, as the match edged closer to the two-hour mark. One hour later, in a tense tie-break, the duo remained locked until Murray won four straight points from 2/3. Murray hit 17 aces to Kohlschreiber’s 11 during their fourth ATP Head2Head meeting. He moved to 5-0 lifetime in ATP Tour finals that have deciding-set tie-breaks.
“It was a great atmosphere and a great crowd,” Kohlschreiber told ATPTour.com. “We both gave everything. It was so close, but at the end there has to be one winner. Unfortunately, for me, it was Andy. It was a fantastic game.
“It was a very special moment for me, in front of a home crowd… I think I pushed Andy to the limit. We had some unbelievable points. I think, for the spectators who came, it was one of the best Munich finals.
“Munich is always very special. It is my best tournament on the tour. I love playing here and on the clay. I don’t want to watch the match tomorrow, but I enjoy playing clay-court tournaments. This gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”