Andy Murray described the emotional aftermath following his epic five-set win against Yoshihito Nishioka in the US Open opening round.
Murray is continuing his slow comeback after hip surgery, and was relieved to have survived a match that lasted almost five hours.
The former world number one acknowledged the strong emotions he felt after his win when he saw messages from those closest to him.
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“Yeah, it was emotional after the match finished," Murray said in his post-match press conference. "When you read the messages from your family and friends, that's kind of when you feel it.
I think it was pretty emotional straight after the match finished. Yeah, when I got back to the locker room, sort of look at my phone, see the messages from family and friends, the team and stuff. They're the people that have kind of seen me go through everything, been there, seen the tough times. I don't know how many of us actually believed I'd be back kind of winning matches like that.
The 33-year-old Scot commented on having many of the top 10 in attendance, watching his game from their boxes inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, and suggested it may have gone some way to getting through the task at hand.
"I mean, I think for the players, just having some people there helps just a little bit," he said. "I know some of the players, like yesterday, when Cameron Norrie was playing, quite a few of the British players went out to watch and support him, which we can do when there's fans but it's not quite the same because normally it's pretty loud, certain times difficult to get seats.

Andy Murray of Great Britain reacts during his Men's Singles first round match against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan on Day Two of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 1, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York Ci

Image credit: Getty Images

"I think it's good if the guys can support each other. I just think it just helps a little bit if you're on the court and there's just a few people around. It's better than no one, that's for sure. Yeah, helped me a little bit today."
Given the usually full crowds prevent other players from attending matches, Murray explained the unusual settings and how they may have helped him through the slog.
It's rare that you have lots of players watching your match. In some ways that can be a little bit distracting if you look up and you've got guys that are in the top 5, top 10 in the world watching you.
"But for me, I had my father-in-law there. He was up in the suite watching me. I had my brother there with his coach watching."
As well as the emotional toll the game had upon him, Murray said that despite the restrictions placed upon resources and facilities due to the coronavirus, he was permitted to use an ice bath after the on-court exertions.
“Yeah, they said it's fine to use it," he said. "They have two in there. Obviously, on the off days, they're trying to restrict the amount of players that are in the locker room, but also using the facilities in there. They said, after a match like that, you can go in and use it, which was helpful.
“It's not comfy on your toes. I don't know why. I do ice baths all the time. You get in one after playing a long match when your toes and stuff are sore, and it's really, really uncomfortable on the toes.
“Actually I did pretty well for being such a long match. I don't know if that was because I maybe didn't use up so much energy the first couple sets because I was sort of pacing myself a little bit."

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After the relief of victory, Murray did admit that there was much more to do, and that he had his tactics slightly wrong given the length of the match.
“I felt mentally I didn't know how I was going to feel if I played a long one, so I didn't want to use up too much energy. When you do that, maybe you don't move as well, don't play the right shots, and the match becomes much longer. So it's completely counterproductive. I think psychologically it can happen when you've not played one for a long time.”
Murray will play his second-round match against Canadian 15th seed Felix Auger Aliassime on Thursday.
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