There have been a lot of great comeback moments in tennis this season. This is especially true in male elite tennis as we saw former tennis greats regaining the fuel to bounce back from their professional slump in the past few years. This was why Andrey Rublev, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray, and Stan Wawrinka have been nominated for ATP Comeback Player of the Year.
Memories of Murray’s January announcement that the Australian Open may be the last tournament of his career were practically gone in people’s minds when he roared back with a win in the European Open in Belgium. Winning over fellow comeback kid Stan Wawrinka, Murray has revitalized hopes that he will have a more active presence in the Grand Slam scene.
Murray has been in-and-out of the ATP Tour since 2017 after complaining of piercing pain in his hip. He has had two major hip surgeries since.
A knee injury prevented the three-time Grand Slam winner from surpassing his career peak ranking of no. 3. In fact, he fell out of the top 200 during his absence from the court. Now that he has already recovered, he has been slowly climbing up the world rankings again.
Wawrinka is now at no. 16 in the rankings. Among the players that he defeated in 2019 tournaments include world no. 2 Novak Djokovic, 2019 ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas and 2017 ATP Finals champ Grigor Dimitrov.
Rublev also had a lot of injuries and health problems in the past few years. In the past two years alone, he experienced a lower back stress fracture and a wrist injury. These health issues caused him to stay away from the court for more than four months. But he surprised everyone when he reached the final round of the 2019 Hamburg European Open, where he lost by a slim margin to Georgian player Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Tsonga is one of only three people to have recorded a Grand Slam match win against the Big Four. But his 2018 knee injury impacted his appearance in the world rankings. For 2019, he defied expectations by exhibiting resurgence. He did well in four French tournaments in September and October, including the Paris Masters.
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Not the place I wanted to be 🤒but 2nd surgery went well 😓😅! That's mean I can start my preparation 🕺🏻… 2018 see you soon🎉! Thanks to all the medical team💉🙏🏻😘 and to my fans for your support in these tough times 💜!! ☹️🙍🏻♂️🚑🤕🌡💉😴🤞🏻💙🙏🏻🤔😅🙆🏻♂️⏳🐌🔜🏊🏻🔜🚶🏻🎒🔜🏃🏻🔜🏋🏻🔜🎾🔜🛩❓🏆🙄🤷🏻♂️🌈☀️💧🥑🍋🍓🍌🐼💕
Why Murray should win the award
Considering the circumstances behind Murray’s inactivity in the past few years, there is a strong argument for a Murray win. Murray’s showing in the last quarter of 2019 is nothing short of impressive.
He had a difficult surgery at the start of the year, which included a major hip procedure. There was even a big chance that he would no longer be able to play on a professional capacity again. Practically everyone was rooting for him to succeed.
His victory over Wawrinka in the European Open when a lot of people already wrote him off strengthens his comeback narrative. He should be awarded the Comeback Player of the Year award.
Andy Murray’s ranking and performance in 2019
Ranked no.126, Andy played his last match on the 20th of October when he defeated Stan Wawrinka 3-6 6-4 6-4 in the final in Antwerp to win his 46th career title.
This year the Brit has a 12-8 win-loss record. Andy has won 1 title in Antwerp.
Stan Wawrinka’s ranking and performance in 2019
Ranked no.16, Wawrinka played his last match on the 31st of October when he lost to Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4 in the 3rd round in Paris.
Stan Wawrinka’s best performance of this season was getting to the final in Antwerp and Rotterdam.
Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka played each other 21 times. The head to head is 13-8 for Murray.
The last time that they locked horns, Andy Murray won 3-6 6-4 6-4 in the final in Antwerp on the 20th October 2019.
Here the highlights.