September 22, 2023

Open Court



On the first day of what was supposed to be the Queen’s Club tournament in London, the tournament is flashing back 15 years – to the third round of the 2005 event.

On court was a young Scot named Andy Murray, who had turned pro that year and was a month removed from the Futures circuit in Spain.

Murray was nine months on from a triumph at the US Open junior event (he crushed … Juan Martin del Potro 6-0, 6-1 in the first round beat Sam Querrey, Mischa Zverev and Sergiy Stakhovsky in the final three rounds).

He was barely a week removed from his final career junior appearance – a semifinal result at the junior French Open, where he lost to Marin Cilic (after, again, beating del Potro in the quarterfinals, and Jonathan Dasnières de Veigy – now Bianca Andreescu’s agent – in the second round).

Ranked No. 357 in the pros, Murray used the Queen’s Club wild card (it was then the Stella Artois Grass Court Championships) to good effect. He allowed No. 110 Santiago Ventura just three games in the first round, and No. 30 Taylor Dent – a fine serve-volleyer from the U.S. – just six games in the second round.

In the third round, he faced veteran Thomas Johansson, the 2002 Australian Open champion who in 2020 is the coach of David Goffin.

Johansson was then 30, ranked No. 20 and had won the lion’s share of his Tour titles either on grass, or on a fast indoor hard court. And Murray gave him a run.

Here’s what it looked like.

Murray followed that up with a third-round effort at Wimbledon. He had David Nalbandian two sets to none before succumbing in five.

By the end of the 2005 grass-court season, Murray was ranked close to the top 200. By the end of the US Open, he was closing in on the top 100.

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