Andy Murray - Australian Open 2023

Andy Murray labels marathon match a ‘farce’ after 4am finish

Andy Murray produced a titanic effort to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis, in his longest ever match, 4-6 6-7 (4) 7-6 (5) 6-3 7-5, but he was not as happy as you would expect someone to be after winning from two sets down.

Murray was unimpressed with the time the match was played, with the contest starting at 10:20pm and finishing almost six hours later at 4:05am.

“I don’t know who it’s [the late finish] beneficial for,” said Murray, “We come here after the match and that’s what the discussion is, rather than it being like, ‘epic Murray-Kokkinakis match’. It ends in a bit of a farce.”

“Amazingly people stayed until the end, and I really appreciate people doing that and creating an atmosphere for us. Some people obviously need to work the following day and everything.”

The match was almost 40 minutes longer than the Brit’s previous longest match, and fell only six minutes short of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s iconic Australian Open final in 2012.

After the match Murray also spoke as a father of four, empathising with the ball boys and girls who had to stay up until the early hours of the morning.

“If my child was a ball kid for a tournament and they’re coming home at five in the morning, as a parent, I’m snapping at that. It’s not beneficial for them,” said the three-time Grand Slam champion.

He added, “It’s not beneficial for the umpires, the officials. I don’t think it’s amazing for the fans. It’s not good for the players.”

Murray has received support from across the tennis world including his older brother Jamie, who voiced his concerns on Twitter.

Tournament director Craig Tiley has defended the scheduling, insisting these were unforeseen circumstances.

“We will always look at it when we do the tournament like we do every year,” said Tiley, “It was an epic match and when you schedule a match like that just before 10pm in the evening, you’re not expecting it to go close to six hours.”

In other Grand Slams this situation would have been unlikely to occur, Wimbledon has an 11pm curfew which would have prevented this match even making it to the second set.

The world No.66 has now spent almost 11 hours on court, in only two matches, after consecutive five-set thrillers. And things won’t get much easier in his third round match, when he plays the only remaining seed in his quarter, Roberto Bautista Agut.

Murray in-fact lost to the Spaniard at the Australian Open, four years ago, when the world thought he was on the brink of retirement.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.