Australian Open: Late-night finishes labeled a ‘nightmare for tennis’ after Andy Murray’s 4 a.m. victory



It was 4:05am in Melbourne when Andy Murray hit a backhand winner past Thanasi Kokkinakis, finally ending a marathon contest that had started five hours and 45 minutes earlier.

Three-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 1 Murray came from two sets down to beat Kokkinakis at the Australian Open, showing all his grit and determination. tennis carrier

Kokkinakis, too, deserves great credit for continuing to fight well into the small hours of Thursday morning when most of Australia was in bed.

But as the players drained all their energy reserves at the Margaret Court Arena, many wondered why the match was still being played after 4 o’clock.

Among them was Murray himself, who threw a tantrum at not being allowed to go to the toilet after taking a bathroom break earlier in the match.

“It’s so insulting that the tournament has left us here until three in the morning and we’re not allowed to pee,” Scott said.

Murray’s brother, doubles specialist Jamie, shared his sibling’s frustration, tweeting During the second round match: “We can’t continue to have players compete until the wee hours of the morning. Rubbish for everyone involved – players/fans/event staff.

The Australian Open has a demanding schedule in the early stages of the tournament; Five matches are regularly played on the show courts each day – three during the day session and two at night.

The match between Murray and Kokkinakis was the second-most recent in Australian Open history.

In 2008, Lleyton Hewitt defeated Marcos Baghdatis in five sets at 4:33 a.m. after Roger Federer had taken four and a half hours to defeat Janko Tipsrevic earlier in the day.

That late finish is good news for international spectators in Europe and North America, who are able to enjoy the drama and tension of a five-set match, but less good for those involved in the spectacle.

“I think it’s a nightmare for tennis,” said Simon Cambers, a tennis writer and co-author of The Roger Federer effectCNN Sport explains.

“Players involved in these night matches are badly affected and have less chance of progressing.

“Very few people in Australia would have stayed to watch a full match and although international viewing figures would have been good, sport needs more than money.

“Many others are also affected, including staff, officials, media, children, all of whom have to work ridiculous hours, leaving them exhausted and unable to do their jobs. What other elite sports are played till 4 am? It’s crazy.”

Murray (left) and Kokkinakis shake hands after their second round match at the Australian Open.

CNN contacted Tennis Australia about the Australian Open schedule but did not immediately receive a response.

Murray, who plays Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round on Saturday, was practicing at the Margaret Court Arena on Friday, eight hours after the conclusion of his match against Kokkinakis.

In that time, he would have completed his media responsibilities, warmed up, had something to eat, traveled back to his hotel, and, after the adrenaline of the match had worn off, slept.

Australian Open organizers, however, have no immediate need to change the tournament schedule after the late night finish.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tilley said, “We have to protect matches told Australian Broadcaster Nine. “If you play a match at night and you get injured, you have nothing for the fans or the broadcasters.

“At this point, there is no need to change the schedule. We always look at this when we debrief like every year; We have had longer matches before, currently we have to fit matches into 14 days so you don’t have many options.

Lleyton Hewitt waits for Marcos Baghdatis' serve at 4:30 a.m. at the 2008 Australian Open.

Cambers believes it would be worth exploring the option of making the men’s matches best of three sets in the first rounds, then returning to the best-of-five after the fourth round, to ease the pressure on the schedule.

“Before anyone starts screaming about tradition, it’s been done since before the 1970s,” he says.

“If they don’t want to change the schedule, make the matches shorter and less epic by making the courts and balls faster. Thus, rallies and matches will not cost everyone and possibly, it can prolong the player’s career.

Murray, who also needed five sets to beat Matteo Berretini in the first round, is scheduled to play in the first match of the night session at Margaret Court Arena on Saturday.

He and opponent Bautista Agut, who came from two sets down to beat Brendan Holt in the second round, will be hoping for an early win this time around.

But history hasn’t been particularly kind to them on that front: the last time they met in Melbourne, Bautista Agut prevailed in five sets and more than four hours.

Perhaps we should prepare for another marathon roller coaster at the Australian Open.

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