An emotional Andy Murray fought back tears and dedicated his victory to "a sick friend" after defeating Grigor Dimitrov in a gripping Brisbane International final on Sunday.
Defending champion Murray prevailed 7-6 6-4 after weathering a storm from his 21-year-old Bulgarian opponent in the opening set.
The US Open champion played a flawless tiebreaker to win it 7-0 and a clinical second set allowed him to recover a service break and complete ideal preparations for the Australian Open, which begins at Melbourne Park on Jan. 14.
"I'd like to dedicate this victory to one of my best friends back home," Murray said in his speech at the presentation.
"You're going to be okay. You're going to get through."
When Murray signed a television lens after the match, he wrote "For You .....", the third word being indecipherable. He was asked about the dedication in his post-match conference and replied: "Just a sick friend."
Later, British tennis player Ross Hutchins revealed that he has been diagnosed with a form of cancer. He is a very close friend of Murray.
Brisbane: Serena Williams felt she was close to accessing the sporting "zone" during her emphatic 6-2 6-1 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final of the Brisbane International on Saturday.
Williams needed only 51 minutes to beat the Russian in an ominous warm-up for the Australian Open.
"I've been in the zone a few times," Williams told reporters. "I don't know if I was in the zone today, but I was definitely heading in that direction. I've been in the twilight zone before, where I just felt so good I couldn't do anything wrong."
Perth: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic sounded an ominous, if light-hearted, warning to his Australian Open rivals after suffering a narrow defeat in the Hopman Cup final on Saturday.
Speaking after he and Ana Ivanovic were beaten by Spaniards Anabel Medina Garrigues and Fernando Verdasco in the mixed teams decider, the defending Australian Open champion was already eyeing his title defence.
"I will have my revenge in Melbourne in a week," Djokovic said with a laugh as he exited Perth Arena in the early hours of Sunday morning.
While the Serbian pair suffered their third near-miss at the Hopman Cup, Djokovic rounded out his Australian Open preparation in fine style, beating former top 10 player Verdasco in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5.