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Andy Murray staying positive, feeling confident again

MADRID (AP) – It’s all starting to click again for Andy Murray.

The former No 1 is feeling good about his game, and confident he’s on track to getting back to his best after having hip surgeries in both 2018 and 2019. Evidence came with solid wins over Dominic Thiem and 14th-seeded Denis Shapovalov at the Madrid Open in his first two matches on clay in nearly two years.

“I played smart tennis,” Murray said after Monday’s 6-3, 6-4 victory over Thiem. “I used the serve-and-volley a little bit, used a dropshot, used different heights. Yeah, I did well considering, you know, when I did play.”

He followed that up on Tuesday with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win over Shapovalov to set up a third-round encounter with top-ranked Novak Djokovic.

Murray hadn’t played on clay since the 2020 French Open. He arrived in Madrid with a 10-8 record on all courts this season and hadn’t won more than two matches in his last six tournaments. He reached the Sydney final in January for his best result of the year.

Murray had only 13 unforced errors in the victory against Thiem.

“I felt very clear about how I wanted to play,” he said. “I have worked really hard the last four or five weeks, probably longer than that. Sort of before I went to Indian Wells, I felt like I was starting to become a little bit clearer with what I wanted to do and was therefore maybe more engaged in the practices and believing that I’m doing the right things.”

Murray said he is feeling mentally stronger again, too.

“I feel like in the important moments that helps when you have a clear head and clear thoughts,” he said. “Mentally, I did really, really well. I’m really proud of that side of things. My attitude and my energy on the court was really good. Yeah, try and keep that going.”

Andy Murray of Britain celebrates his victory over Dominic Thiem of Austria during their match at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain. PHOTO: AP