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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday May 9, 2024

Andy Murray is ready to return to the tour after missing time due to a ruptured ankle ligament. The 36-year-old Scot, who turns 37 on May 15, will take his spot in the Geneva draw later this month, in the week before Roland-Garros, as he commences his last spring and summer as a pro.

Today in Rome, another legend who is playing in his last season shared his thoughts on Murray’s legacy.

Having faced him 24 times on tour, Rafael Nadal should know a thing or two about the three-time Grand Slam champion…

“We know each other since we were small kids because I think he's one year younger,” Nadal told reporters. “We grew together on the tour, even when he arrived a little bit later than me.”

Nadal, who earned 17 wins from his 24 matches with Murray, praised the Brit for his monumental contribution to his generation.

“Andy had an amazing career,” Nadal said, adding that the former World No.1 was the only other player who consistently stayed at a level close to the Big 3 of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic. “He was an amazing player that probably played in a difficult moment of the history of tennis because he shared the tour at the prime time of Novak, Roger and myself.

“He was, in my feeling, the one that was at the same level as us in general terms. In terms of victories, it's true that he achieved less. In terms of level of tennis, in terms of holding mentally the winning spirit week after week, he was the only one that was very close to being at the same level as us.”

Osaka on Murray: He’s Relentless

Four-time champion Naomi Osaka also had some kind words for the 46-time ATP title winner.

“For me, Murray's such a great guy, such a tough competitor,” Osaka said earlier this week in Rome. “I think it's really amazing the fact that he loves tennis so much and he keeps coming back. He's had all these injuries. He's kind of relentless in a way. Just his ability to keep playing matches at a high level.”

Osaka says that she watched Murray when she was a kid and was inspired by the same fighting spirit that Nadal spoke of.

“For me, when I think about him, when I think about the legacy that he leaves on tennis,” Osaka said. “I think as a kid watching him on TV playing these amazing battles, he's affected every tennis kid worldwide.”