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Tiafoe has high praise for Murray, who will meet Schwartzman on Thursday

Frances Tiafoe had nothing but praise for Andy Murray as the American took to social media following their Antwerp epic. Murray, meanwhile, moves on to face Diego Schwartzman in the second round on Thursday

Andy Murr ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM – OCTOBER 19 : TIAFOE Frances (USA) v MURRAY Andy (GBR) during the ATP 250 European Open Antwerp on October 19, 2021 in Antwerpen, Belgium, 19/10/2021 ( || 210177_0010 @jandemeuleneir_photo 2021 Antwerpen arena ATP de European JAN lotto MEULENEIR open sport sports tennis TOUR

A day after losing an incredible three-setter against Andy Murray in the European Open first round, Frances Tiafoe took to Instagram to heap praise on the three-time Grand Slam champion.

“I don’t even really know what to say,” wrote Tiafoe, who succumbed 7-6(2), 6-7(7), 7-6(8) in three hours and 45 minutes — the longest three-set match of the entire tennis season. “Last night was just insane. It definitely hurts to be on the wrong side of the stick after a match like this….but damn that’s why I play this game: To battle the best players in the world.

“We sure did battle two out three sets in 3 hours and 45 minutes. I’m still hurting. Gotta [shoutout Andy Murray] you a true inspiration bro. Everything you been thru and [you’re] playing at this high of a level and still keep your standards extremely high. Asking for the best out of yourself and then some. All while having a metal hip. [You’re] the biggest competitor I know and the respect I have for you is [through] the roof…. To share a historic match like that glad it was against you man.

“Nothing but love and respect for Sir Andy Murray.”

Of course, Tiafoe’s appreciation for Murray is probably nothing the Scot didn’t already know. After all, they chatted for about 30 minutes in the locker room following their epic encounter.

“[I had] a long chat with Frances afterwards,” Murray commented, “so I’ll probably remember that and then the embrace at the end. I guess so much went into it that I don’t remember loads of points in the match, but obviously the end was special. I’ve never played a match like that on the tour really…. In the locker room we had a much more in-depth chat about tennis, not so much the match…. That was kind of rare I would say.”

Schwartzman next for Murray on Thursday

About 48 hours following his first-round marathon, Murray will have to put that match behind him and get ready for Diego Schwartzman on Thursday. Schwartzman had the benefit of a first-round bye as the No 2 seed.

Murray has had recent experience during his post-surgery days of trying to bounce back from long matches — albeit at the Grand Slam level. At the 2020 US Open, the former world No 1 outlasted Yoshihito Nishioka in five sets and then got clobbered by Felix Auger-Aliassime. At Wimbledon this summer, Murray survived a five-setter against Oscar Otte in the second round and had nothing left for Denis Shapovalov in the round of 32.

Amazingly, this will be the first-ever meeting between Murray and Schwartzman.

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