Andy Murray has never been one for hyperbole when it comes to talking about himself so it was perhaps no surprise that in the wake of his outstanding win over Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open yesterday, he should be reluctant to describe it as one of his best ever wins.

But the fact Murray allowed himself to use the words “pride” and “impressive” to describe his win tells us a lot about what the victory over the No 13 seed really means.

His 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (10-6) win over the Italian, the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2021, was a typically dramatic and at the same time, brilliant performance, reminiscent of life before the hip surgery that almost signalled the end of his career.

In the four years since that tearful press conference at Melbourne Park, when he thought he may have to retire, Murray has had some good wins but many tight losses, defeats that made him question if it was all really worth it.

And yet, he never gave up.

Instead, he dedicated himself to the sport as much, if not more, than ever before. The pain of the work and the agony of close defeats may not all have been erased by yesterday’s win but it will have gone a long way to boosting his belief that more good is around the corner.

“The motivation and belief and those things, that that has to come from me now at this stage of my career that I’m at,” Murray said. “I'm surrounding myself with people that I trust in and believe in and I listen to what they tell me. I'm not disregarding the role that they play. They all play a role for me as well.

“But I think it would have been quite easy for me to lose belief in myself and to stop motivating myself. My wife has been unbelievably supportive as well. She's helped a lot because I would understand if...with some of the tennis I was playing at the end of last year and not really having much success, if she said to me, ‘look, come home, we don't need to do this anymore’.

READ MORE: Murray becomes 10th star to win 50 singles games at Australian Open

“But she's been unbelievably supportive. and she still believes in me as well.”

Murray’s desire has never been in question. It’s what got him to the top in the first place, together with his obvious talent.

But staying upbeat, believing in himself when others may have lost faith, has taken a lot of effort.

His win over Berrettini was his first over a top-20 player in a Grand Slam since the French Open of 2017, when he beat the then ninth-ranked Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

“I've had some good moments since I came back,” Murray said. “I mean, the Queen's doubles (title, with Feliciano Lopez) for me was special (in 2019) and obviously winning the title in Antwerp and stuff like that.

"But certainly in the last 18 months or couple of years, I’ve played some pretty ordinary tennis at times. Off the back of that, you doubt yourself a lot and stuff so I mean, this is a great win in a big event but tough to say it's the best.”

Recovering from his four-hour, 49 match will be tough but Murray is already focused on finding a way to get himself ready for his second-round match, even if he also wants to try to enjoy the win.

“If someone told me you’re going to put all this effort in just to win the first round of a slam against a top player, I’d be like, well, no…” he said.

“It's amazing and I'm glad to be a part of the match and stuff but I believe I have more to give than that.”

That hard work, he said, included three weeks in Florida, where he trained daily, on and off the court, with Ivan Lendl.

“I was there for three weeks,” he said. “We were in Boca Raton at a country club there. I stayed in a house, which was maximum two-minute drive from the court that we practiced on every day there.

“Ivan (Lendl, his coach) was obviously there, staying at home. The physio that I was working with was Phil Hayward, who was there with me for the whole three weeks. Hilts (Mark Hilton) came out for a couple of weeks of it, as well.”

In addition to the work on the court, he trained hard on the bike and on the versaclimber, living, as he said “a pretty basic sort of life”.

“I would get up at the same time most mornings, go grab a coffee, get down to the practice courts, spend two-and-a-half, three hours on the court, have lunch, then head to the gym in the afternoon, or sometimes go back on the court again.

“I just had very, very little distractions. I was totally focused on my training and on my tennis, the things I needed to do to get better. It's something that I'll definitely look to do at times during the rest of this year to make sure I dedicate enough time to the hard work and improving my game.”

Sitting courtside for the Berrettini match, Lendl sat almost motionless while others in the box leaped up and down. But there is no doubt the former world No 1’s presence has been crucial for Murray since they began to work together for a third time.

“Obviously the past success that we've had gives me confidence in the relationship,” he said. “Most of my biggest wins have come whilst Ivan was part of the team. He's certainly not going to let me get away with not working hard. He's always going to push me as hard as he can to try and get the best out of me.

“He obviously understands what it takes to get to the top of the sport. He did it himself as a player. He's obviously seen it with me whilst he's been coaching. It's a relationship that seems to work.”