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Andy Murray gets his first clay win over Rafael Nadal: This day, that year

  • Andy Murray produced a spectacular performance at Madrid 2015 to claim his first clay victory over Rafael Nadal.
  • The Brit also won his maiden claycourt Masters title with the straight-sets victory.
Rupin Kale
FEATURED WRITER
News
Modified 11 May 2020, 02:15 IST

Andy Murray stunned Rafael Nadal with a superlative performance in Madrid
Andy Murray stunned Rafael Nadal with a superlative performance in Madrid

On this day in 2015, Andy Murray produced his best ever claycourt performance against Rafael Nadal, overpowering him in the ATP Madrid Open final. It was a phenomenal display from the Brit, and the straight-sets result marked his first (and only) victory over Rafael Nadal on clay.

After waiting for a clay trophy for more than a decade, Andy Murray won his second title on the surface in seven days - having captured the Munich title the week before. In the Spanish capital, Murray thrashed Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2 before a stunned crowd, adding an important feather to his cap.

Apart from a round-two clash against Philipp Kohlschreiber that went to three sets, Andy Murray breezed through the tournament, reaching the final with a string of glorious performances. And yet, not many gave him a chance when he came up against the toughest obstacle possible between him and his first 1000 Masters tournament on clay: Rafael Nadal, a double defending champion and four-time winner at Madrid overall.

However, he found his best form on the day, producing a spectacular showing that allowed the Spaniard no chance to gain a foothold.

How Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal in the 2015 Madrid Open final

Andy Murray put Rafael Nadal under pressure from the outset, breaking his first service game with sharp returns and deep strikes from the baseline. The Spaniard was caught off guard early on, and could never really find a way back after that shock.

Murray had a couple of close calls on his serve in the final stages of the first set, but held on to close it 6-3. He was looking like a man possessed at that point, having gone into the final with an 8-0 claycourt record for 2015; the confidence from that run certainly helped him start positively against Rafael Nadal.

Andy Murray was on an unbeaten streak on clay in 2015 ahead of the final
Andy Murray was on an unbeaten streak on clay in 2015 ahead of the final
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The Brit broke Nadal once again in the first game of the second set, digging in deep to come out on top of some excruciating rallies. He built momentum after that, refusing to let Rafael Nadal or his imperious clay reputation to make a difference; Murray added a second break to his bag to go 3-0 up in the set.

He held his nerve and his serve throughout, closing the final set out with an unreturned serve.

"It's one of the hardest things in tennis to try and win against Rafa on clay, so I'm glad I've managed to do it," Murray had told Sky Sports after the win that year.
"I made very few errors and changed the height of the ball extremely well, which was part of the reason why he was mistiming a few shots.
"I used the second serve into the forehand a lot and that worked well because I was able to get him moving. I dealt with all of the nervy moments I had in the match pretty well."

While he did not win a Slam that year, 2015 was a special season for Andy Murray. He made the final of the Australian Open before reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. He won four titles in the calendar year, including at least one on every surface.

In 2015, Andy Murray also led Britain to their first Davis Cup title in 79 years.


Published 11 May 2020, 02:15 IST
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