© Corrine Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Dominic Thiem and Andy Murray share words of support following their match in Madrid on Monday.

Thiem On Murray: ‘He Is A Role Model’

Murray & Thiem have both been sidelined with injuries in recent years

Following their recent injury issues, former World No. 1 Andy Murray and 17-time tour-level titlist Dominic Thiem met for the first time in three years Monday at the Mutua Madrid Open.

The Scot overcame the Austrian 6-3, 6-4 to earn his maiden clay-court win since 2017 and improve to 3-2 in their ATP Head2Head series. Afterward, the pair shared a warm embrace at the net, with Murray ushering words of encouragement to Thiem, who was competing in just his third tour-level event since last June following a wrist injury.

“It was very nice, his words at the net, and it is worth even more from someone like him who really went through that recovery process,” Thiem said. “He is one of the few who knows how tough it is to come back after a major injury and obviously he is a role model with how he came back with his hip injury.”

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Murray underwent hip surgery in 2019 and while he still wants to improve, he has climbed back into the Top 100, reached a tour-level final in Sydney and earned standout wins over Carlos Alcaraz, Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner since returning.

The 34-year-old shared his sympathy for Thiem after the match, but feels there are positives to take for the former World No. 3 moving forwards.

“It's not easy coming back from such a long time [away]. I hope that it's just sort of a mental thing that he will get through with more matches and that it's not still something that is causing him pain or discomfort,” Murray said when asked about Thiem’s wrist injury.

“At times he hit it well, but there were certainly specific shots that usually he would make. He is still serving well, has a fantastic kick serve and was hitting his backhand very well. He's an excellent mover.”

Murray will face Denis Shapovalov in the second round, with the Canadian currently working alongside Murray’s former coach Jamie Delgado. The 46-time tour-level titlist added that he is feeling physically strong ahead of their upcoming meeting.

“I do feel like I have started to play some better tennis, and I'm definitely moving better and moved very well tonight," Murray said. "That's a really important part of my game. It allows me to concentrate on the strategy a little bit more when I'm out there. I was just really happy all around with how I competed, how I played, how I moved, how my body felt.”

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