Andy Murray has defeated Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis in one of the greatest ever Australian Open matches, but the tennis world has been left baffled over the 4am finish time on Rod Laver Arena. The great Scot showed why he is considered one of the greatest fighters the sport has ever seen after Kokkinakis was leading 5-2 in the third and one game away from winning the match.
Instead, Murray roared back to leave the South Australian absolutely devastated with a 4-6, 6-7 (7-4), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 7-5 win, which lasted five hours 45 minutes - the second longest in Australian Open history. Murray won the match at 4.05am local time and greeted a humble, but devastated, Kokkinakis at the net for a warm embrace.
'ATROCIOUS': No.2 seed rocked amid 'woeful' scenes at Aus Open
The match threatened the record for the latest grand slam finish which was a 4.34am epic in 2008 at Melbourne Park when Lleyton Hewitt trumped Marcos Bagdahtis. And the tennis world was quick to jump on the ridiculous scenes unfolding.
Murray was frustrated with the chair umpire after it appeared he wasn't allowed a bathroom break at around 3am in the morning in the fourth set. "You know what, it's so disrespectful that the tournament has us out here till 3, 4am in the morning and we are not allowed to go take a piss. It's a joke," Murray said.
"It is a joke and you know it as well. It's disrespectful to you, it's disrespectful to the ball children and disrespectful to the players." After the match, Murray let rip at the scheduling and said it wasn't just the players that were impacted.
"I don't know who it's beneficial for," Murray said. "Rather than the discussion being about an epic Murray-Kokkinakis match it ends in a bit of a farce. If I had a ball kid who is coming home at 5am I'm snapping at that; it's not beneficial for them, the umpires, the officials, I don't think it's amazing for the fans or good for players."
The tennis world agreed with Murray and let rip at the Australian Open schedule as more calls for changes to the night session grow. This included his brother, Jamie, who called for just only one match during the night session. Others were just left in awe of Murray and Kokkinakis with the finish mostly watched by European and American followers due to the time.
Andy Murray into a fifth set in Melbourne (where it’s 3 AM) … asked for a bathroom break, was told it wasn’t an option and he vented. Oh yes, he vented as he should. pic.twitter.com/8dmrFVAJXT
— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) January 19, 2023
Time for tennis to move to only one 1 match at the night sessions at grand slams.
This is the best outcome for ALL singles players.
We can’t continue to have players compete into the wee hours of the morning. Rubbish for everyone involved - players/fans/event staff
— Jamie Murray (@jamie_murray) January 19, 2023
But equally, like at the French Open 2022, you're paying a lot of money for a match that might end up being a bit of a dud?
— James Gray (@jamesgraysport) January 19, 2023
The @AustralianOpen playing matches past three in the morning us an absolute joke.
— Alastair Horne (@pressfuturist) January 19, 2023
You need to sort your scheduling out, absolute joke!!
— danrob (@revgreeen) January 19, 2023
35yo Andy Murray, a former world #1 with a metal hip, who played 5h two days ago, comes back to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 7-5 in the 2nd longest ever #AusOpen match: 5h45, finished after 4am in the morning.
Into the 3rd round
Epic. Legendary. All of that pic.twitter.com/JkWVFy5YoV
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 19, 2023
Andy Murray prevails in Australian Open epic
With his early career ravaged by injury, Kokkinakis had never previously gone past the Open second round, only once before reaching the third round at a grand slam with that high coming back in 2015 at the French Open. While Kokkinakis was visibly shattered as he left court, Murray was jubilant having defied the odds in two five-set matches to start his Australian Open charge.
"It's unbelievable that I managed to turn that around," said the 35-year-old, with the match the longest of his stellar career. "Thanasi was serving unbelievably well, hitting his forehand huge and I don't know how I managed to get through it.
"I did start playing better as the match went on and I have a big heart. It's amazing to win the match but now I want to go to bed." Everyone, including me, I think we should all get off to bed now."
Kokkinakis wasn't able to front the media after the match after he was treated for unknown injury. However, he did take to social media to express his amazement at the match.
This fucking sport man…..😔
— Thanasi Kokkinakis (@TKokkinakis) January 19, 2023
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