MELBOURNE (Reuters) -
Britain’s Andy Murray marked his return to the Australian Open - where in 2019 he thought he might have to retire - with a tense five-set win over Georgian 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Murray cruised to the first set in 23 minutes but any hopes of a routine win disappeared as Basilashvili recovered.
Momentum swung both ways before the wildcard won 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4.
Murray, 34, was one of three Britons to win on Tuesday, with Heather Watson and Dan Evans also progressing.
Murray, a five-time beaten finalist in Melbourne, will play Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in the second round on Thursday.
“It’s amazing,” Murray said shortly after winning on John Cain Arena, where he lost to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in 2019.
“It’s been a tough three or four years but I’ve put in a lot of hard work to get here.
“I’ve played on this court many times and the atmosphere is always incredible.
“It is where I thought I had potentially played my last match but to win a five-set battle like that, I couldn’t have asked any more.”