Murray defends Brisbane crown
An emotional Andy Murray successfully defended his Brisbane International title this morning and then dedicated the win to an ill friend.
- Related Content
Speaking on court after his 7-6 (7/0) 6-4 victory over Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, a tearful Murray said: "I'd like to dedicate this victory to one of my best friends. He's back home watching and you're going to get through it."
It is understood Murray was talking about fellow British Davis Cup player Ross Hutchins, a long-time friend of the Scot who revealed today he is suffering from Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a form of cancer.
The 27-year-old doubles specialist broke the news on Twitter, saying: "Happy New Year to all!Unfortunately I will be away from tennis for a while as I was recently diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.
"I am doing well, very positive with excellent medical support,friends and family around me. Looking forward to being back on the court soon!"
Messages of support flooded in for Hutchins, including from Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper and Murray's former coach Brad Gilbert.
In a message to Hutchins on Twitter, Gilbert wrote: "this is an opponent I am sure you can beat. Keep up the positive mojo like you do on the court - stay tough!"
US Open champion Murray was the top seed in Brisbane and retained his crown over first-time ATP World Tour finalist Dimitrov, fighting back from an early break down and saving a set point in the opener.
At 21, Dimitrov is the youngest player in the world's top 50, and Murray praised the performance of the highly-rated talent.
"It's his first final," Murray said. "Everyone will agree he played some extremely exciting tennis, it was a very tough match.
"He's just changed coaches, started with a new team, so congratulations to them - I'm sure they're going to do great things together."
Murray's title, his first on the regular tour since the same tournament 12 months ago, comes just over a week before the start of the Australian Open in Melbourne, the season's first grand slam tournament.
The 25-year-old reached the semi-final stage last year before losing to eventual winner Novak Djokovic, but his 2013 season could have started differently following a fantastic start by Dimitrov.
The talented Bulgarian took 11 of the first 12 points in the match and led the first set 3-0 before also having a set point at 6-5 as he looked to cause a major upset.
But Murray fought back and strolled through the first set tie-break before having to break back in the second set as he charged to another Brisbane title with three successive games.
"Today, I started the match off badly and came back into it," said the Olympic gold medallist.
"I had lost serve in the second set and broke back straight away and won three games in a row to win the match.
"So long as it's not affecting me for long periods or when I go behind and I'm not finding ways back into matches, that's when you get worried."
Dimitrov, who was compared to Roger Federer as a teenager and of whom great things have been expected, said he was not apprehensive about facing Murray in the final and is keen to test himself against the best players in the world.
"Why fear? Why do I have to feel intimidated? I want to play them," he said.
"I want to play them all. There's nothing better than to play against these guys and do the best you can against them. "Eventually, long term, if you want to be good you're going to play them almost every week."