Andy Murray at the Australian Open: With immeasurable fighting spirit – sport

Just eight hours after the craziest match that Andy Murray had contributed, he was back. He shuffled down the aisle in the player area, as shown in a video posted by the Australian Open on the internet. A man passed him, waving his right arm in homage and bowing. Murray smiled briefly and shuffled on, tennis bag on his left shoulder.

Murray and Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis abused each other for 5:45 hours during the night, the two were celebrated like rock stars in the Margaret Court Arena when they walked towards each other with motionless facial expressions after the match point. They seemed downright paralyzed. It was there at 4:05 am. In the morning. In the history of the Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne there was only one game that lasted longer, that was the legendary final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal 2012; then the Serb defeated the Spaniard after 5:53 hours and tore his shirt. Murray didn’t, but made two notable appearances after his spectacular third-round reach.

First he gave an interview on the pitch, during which the pulse of the people remaining in the stadium increased again, many wore thick jackets, it had cooled down significantly to only 13, 14 degrees Celsius. John Fitzgerald, 62, who used to be an excellent doubles player, naturally asked how Murray managed to get back on his feet and how, after being down 4:6, 6:7 (4), 2:5, he still managed to win the last three sets 7:6 (5th minute). ), 6:3, 7:5. He didn’t know himself, Murray puzzled, but he assured one thing: “I have a big heart.” Fitzgerald immediately picked up on this response and flattered Murray by saying, “I think everything about you is great.” Then Murray said in his typically dry way: “I’m not sure if my wife would agree with that.” Of course, with so much raunchyness, viewers immediately cheered.

In between, Murray argues with the referee about a bathroom break

Murray then appeared in front of the press for a round of lightning interviews, and the mood quickly became very serious. Murray spoke of a “farce” that this game started so late and was allowed to end so late. “If my child were a ball kid at the tournament and came home at five o’clock, we would scold as parents,” he said, recalling: “We’ve been talking about it all the time, for years. If you look at the matches at night Session is that late and there are these conditions, then things like that happen.”

Which incidentally also included a verbal outburst from Murray when referee Eva Asderaki once refused to go to the toilet, the rules only allow this between two sentences. “It’s a joke… it’s disrespectful,” Murray had fumed, while Asderaki, a renowned GM, looked ready to burst into tears. But the rule was the rule, that’s the way it is in the tennis. It was a complicated night not only for the two players on the field.

Tennis: The game device smashes: Thanasi Kokkinakis reacts to the now legendary rally against the British Andy Murray, in which the Australian gives four smashes.

The playground equipment shatters: Thanasi Kokkinakis reacts to the now legendary rally against the British Andy Murray, in which the Australian misses four smashes.

(Photo: Hannah Mckay/Reuters)

Murray’s sentences, of course, got through to Tournament Director Craig Tiley, who defended the schedule. “We’ve had extreme heat the past few days, we’ve had more than five stoppages due to rain, we’ve had cold,” he said on Nine’s Today TV. For Tiley, who is also the head of Tennis Australia and is considered a power-conscious decision-maker, it was therefore clear: “We also have to protect the matches. If you only have one match in the evening and there is an injury, you have nothing for the fans or broadcasters .” In addition, you don’t have “many options” because it’s about “playing the games in 14 days”.

After this tournament, Tiley announced, everything should be analyzed again in detail. Such sentences have been heard more often in Australia, not least in 2008 when Lleyton Hewitt converted his match point against Marcos Baghdatis at 4:34 in the morning. Little has changed since then.

Murray has turned a 2-0 set deficit into a 3-2 win eleven times now

Kokkinakis, who at the Australian Open a year ago, he stormed with his buddy Nick Kyrgios in a kind of permanent party to win the title in the doubles competition, and Murray in particular, this announcement by Tiley doesn’t help much afterwards anyway. They had no choice but to play and play and play the match. “This fucking sport man…” tweeted Kokkinakis, who brought Murray to the brink of defeat with his hard serve and brutal forehand. But only marginally.

Murray, who had previously turned a 2-0 set deficit into a 3-2 win an incredible ten times and has now left legends like Boris Becker and Roger Federer behind, proved once again that an immeasurable fighting spirit can do more than excellent ones punches. Exemplary was his most intense save during a rally, when Kokkinakis smashed three times while standing at the net, Murray deflected the ball back each time, Kokkinakis hit an overhead ball again from the baseline – and Murray made the point after a forehand error by the 26-year-old.

Certainly the former world number one, currently in 66th place, is not as good as when he was at his best. But there is no better player with an artificial hip in the whole world, that’s indisputable.

Tennis: fair winner, fair loser: Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis, the protagonists of an unforgettable evening, after match point.

Fair winner, fair loser: Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis, the protagonists of an unforgettable evening, after match point.

(Photo: Peter Dovgan/Imago)

The next emotional drama is already on the horizon as Murray meets Roberto Bautista Agut this Saturday, again at Margaret Court Arena. He had lost against the Spaniard in five sets in Melbourne in 2019 after catching up, when he gave his famous tearful speech in which he announced the end of his career, his hip was broken. After all: This time Murray will play the first match of the night session, which starts at 7 p.m.

Fitzgerald had also asked him on the pitch how it was possible to work like that, so Murray explained: “I’m aware that I often don’t look particularly happy in my matches, but in these matches I’m deep inside myself happiest.” Almost apologetically, he emphasized: “That’s me.” And that’s exactly why it’s so unique.

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