Thu. Feb 9th, 2023

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Andy Murray simply needed to go to the toilet.

It was 3 a.m., he’d already been taking part in his Australian Open second-round match in opposition to Thanasi Kokkinakis for greater than 4 1/2 hours — they’d stick with it for one more set throughout greater than one other hour — and Murray hoped to be allowed to go to the locker room for a fast break.

Guidelines are guidelines, although, and Murray already had left the courtroom twice, so chair umpire Eva Asderaki-Moore would not budge, prompting this rebuke from the three-time Grand Slam champion: “It’s a joke. And you recognize it, as effectively.”

Ah, the perils of taking part in all evening, one thing that happens often in tennis, greater than in different skilled sports activities. All of it left the 35-year-old Murray offended and questioning aloud after 4:05 a.m. Friday — when he lastly, mercifully, completed off the 4-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-5 victory over Kokkinakis following 5 hours, 45 minutes of clashing abilities and wills at Margaret Courtroom Enviornment — why this type of “farce,” as he termed it, must happen in any respect.

“If my little one was a ball child for a event, they’re coming residence at 5 within the morning — as a father or mother, I’m snapping at that. It’s not helpful for them. It’s not helpful for the umpires, the officers. I don’t assume it’s superb for the followers. It’s not good for the gamers,” mentioned Murray, a father of 4. “So, yeah, we speak about it on a regular basis. It’s been spoken about for years. If you begin the evening matches late, and have situations like that, this stuff are going to occur.”

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Particularly at occasions just like the Australian Open and U.S. Open, which maintain every day evening classes that often embrace two matches on some courts. Which may result in excessive conditions akin to Murray vs. Kokkinakis, which got here 15 years to the day after the newest end in Grand Slam historical past, a match between Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis on the 2008 Australian Open that concluded at 4:34 a.m.

“There’s no sport that does that. I don’t assume it’s superb. … Who actually desires to look at a five-, six-hour match? That’s lengthy, even for TV,” mentioned the event’s No. 3-seeded lady, Jessica Pegula, whose mother and father personal NFL and NHL groups. “I don’t assume any of the gamers assume that ought to be taking place in any respect.”

She and others identified it is arduous to go to mattress after a match like that, due to the adrenalin concerned, which hurts efforts to get better mentally and bodily.

The final ladies’s match on Thursday’s schedule, through which Marketa Vondrousova upset No. 2 seed Ons Jabeur 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 at Rod Laver Enviornment, completed at after 1 a.m. Friday.

“It is form of loopy. For the physique, additionally: I don’t assume it’s wholesome to play at 1 a.m,” Vondrousova mentioned. “I simply want some sleep.”

Murray’s brother, Grand Slam doubles champion Jamie, tweeted: “Time for tennis to maneuver to just one match on the evening classes. … We won’t proceed to have gamers compete into the wee hours of the morning. Garbage for everybody concerned — gamers/followers/occasion workers. And so on.”

Nonetheless, don’t anticipate something to alter anytime quickly.

“At this level, there is no such thing as a want to change the schedule,” Craig Tiley, the event director and head of Tennis Australia, instructed native broadcasting associate Channel 9 on Friday.

Murray can be again on courtroom Saturday, dealing with No. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut for a berth within the fourth spherical.

Murray, who additionally performed a five-setter within the first spherical in opposition to Matteo Berrettini and has already put in additional than 10 1/2 hours on courtroom, was again at Melbourne Park earlier than 1 p.m. on Friday.

“It’s no enjoyable for Andy. I noticed him right this moment earlier than my match,” mentioned Stefanos Tsitsipas, the 2021 French Open runner-up who gained his third-round match Friday afternoon. “I used to be pondering to myself, ‘What’s he doing right here? He ought to be in mattress!’”

Tsitsipas thinks people akin to Tiley aren’t all that upset by this type of ‘round the clock competitors.

“There’s an excellent story behind this match, and it’s going to be remembered,” Tsitsipas mentioned. “I do keep in mind very vividly, very effectively, the match that Baghdatis performed with Hewitt. It’s someplace again inside my thoughts someplace. … It’s positively a really magical second — for certain, not for the one who loses, as a result of it’s painful.”

Finally 12 months’s U.S. Open, eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, two brilliant younger stars, engaged in a five-set battle over 5 hours, quarter-hour, till 2:50 a.m., setting the mark for the newest end in that event’s historical past.

Sinner was on the flawed finish of that one. On Friday, his consequence was higher and his schedule extra easy: His 4-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 win in opposition to Marton Fucsovics started at 11 a.m.; his day was achieved by 2:45 p.m.

“I don’t care a lot, no? I’m joyful to be on courtroom. Doesn’t matter what time,” Sinner mentioned. “For certain, I favor (starting) at 11 than taking part in within the evening, (however) it is all a part of our sport now.”

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