Andy Murray consoles Dominic Thiem after beating him 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of Madrid Masters on Monday.
Thiem has struggled for form since he returned to court from an injury which kept him sidelined for eight months and prevented him from defending his US Open crown last year.
“I hope you feel better soon, mate,” a sympathetic Murray told Thiem as the players shook hands at the net.
"Keep going. It takes time but you'll be fine"
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 2, 2022
“Great to see you back. Keep going. It takes a lot of time, but you’ll be fine.”
Monday’s clash in Madrid was only Thiem’s fourth match this year and the 28-year-old was far from his best, making 33 unforced errors, the majority of which came from his forehand.
Murray, who has undergone two hip surgeries himself, knows the struggle that goes into a comeback.
The Brit was playing in Madrid after two years and his win over Thiem was his first on clay in five years.
“It’s extremely difficult,” Murray said of Thiem’s comeback.
“He obviously had the injury initially and has also had some setbacks along the way. Mentally, it will take time to feel confident, totally accelerating on the ball.
“I had a wrist injury when I was 20 years old and it was very difficult. It took me time before I started to feel comfortable on the forehand side again.
“He uses his wrist a lot when he plays. He plays with heavy topspin. It’s obviously going to take him time, but he can still hit the ball great. He’s serving well, moving well. It’s just going to take time.”
With the victory, Murray improves to 8-1 in first-round matches on the year. He next faces 14th seed Denis Shapovalov, who squeezed past lucky loser Ugo Humbert of France, 7-6(1), 6-3.