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Night crowns Murray: winner at 4:05 in the second longest match ever in Australia

Public totally delivered, although with some fans asking to pause the game. Others, almost as exhausted as Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis, protagonists of a night for the annals of tennis. Hit goes, hit comes until 4:05 in the morning in Melbourne. Only two matches have ended later in tennis history. Only one in the Australian Open, the 2008 Lleyton Hewitt – Marcos Baghdatis, which ended at 4:34 after a 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 and 6-3 in 4h:45. This time, it was 5h:45, the second longest duel in the history of the tournament after the final between Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in 2012, which lasted 5h:53. This time, it was a 4-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 7-5 run to crown Murray in a match that could perfectly epitomize his legendary career. “It is three in the morning and we are not allowed to urinate. It is a lack of respect. It’s a joke!”, the British came to blurt out to the chair umpire. In his case, for greater merit, he came to beat Matteo Berrettini in another five sets and 4h:49. In total, more than ten hours on the track, with 35 years and a hip replacement. At his feet, Sir Andrew.

Year Tournament Players (result) Final hour
2022 acapulco Zverev – Brooksby (3-6, 7-6 y 6-2) 4:54
2008 Open Australia Hewitt – Baghdatis (3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-7 y 6-3) 4:34
2023 Open Australia Murray – Kokkinakis (4-6, 6-7, 7-6 y 7-5) 4:05
2019 Davis cup Querrey/Sock – Bolelli/Fognini (7-6, 6-7 and 6-4) 4:04
2007 Open Australia I knew – Reynolds (6-1, 6-7, 6-7, 7-6 y 6-3) 3:34

*Matches that ended later in the story.

“It’s amazing that he managed to turn it around. Thanasi was serving amazingly and hitting very well with his forehand. I don’t know how I managed to get over it. I started to play better as the game went on, but yeah, I have a big heart. Now, I have the most wins after losing two sets, so I’ve done it before. I have experience in this. I only trust that experience. That fight and love for the game, competing and my respect for this event and the rivals is what pushes me forward”, Murray declared after the marathon, almost unable to speak due to exhaustion. In the third round, will face Roberto Bautistawho beat him in 2019 in that match that later led to a threat of withdrawal. “Honestly, I’ve loved playing here over the years… if this was my last game, it’s an incredible way to end, I gave literally everything I had,” he said then. From that moment to today. There is no better way to explain the magnitude of what happened this morning in Melbourne.

As Murray himself emphasized, no other player has been able to come back from two sets down as many times as he. The Briton has done it 11 times; behind him, all with 10, Roger Federer, Boris Becker and Aaron Krickstein. This last time, in the longest duel of his extensive career. Also the one that has finished later (the previous personal record, in Washington, was located at 3:02 in the morning). A page to remember in a Grand Slam that resists him, but of which he is also king, although without a crown: No tennis player has won as many matches (51) in a major without getting the title like Andy in Australia. Now, he is already in a third round that he had not reached since 2017. “This fucking athlete…”, extolled Kokkinakis on his social networks after the game. The other side of the story.

The score after the conclusion of the match.

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The score after the conclusion of the match.HANNAH MCKAYREUTERS

A nocturnal animal… and critical

Along with the aforementioned match between Hewitt and Baghdatis, only Alexander Zverev and Jenson Brooksby, last season in Acapulco, have finished playing later than Kokkinakis and Murray this Thursday. They did it at 4:54, much later in the night than when Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, also last year, broke the record at the US Open (2:50). Andy, whose game in Washington is the eighth most nocturnal in history, is an animal used to these hours, despite the fact that they do not seem the most appropriate to play. “I don’t know for whom it is beneficial. Surprisingly, people stayed until the end, which I really appreciate, because many have to work the next day. If my son was a ball boy and came back at five in the morning, as a father… that’s what I’m talking about. He is not good for them, nor for the fans or the players, ”he criticized, already at a press conference.

Murray’s late-night history, however, and paradoxically, even reaches Wimbledon, with a time limit (around 11:00 p.m.). His match against Stan Wawrinka, in 2009, was the first to be played under artificial light in London, ending at 10:38 p.m. In 2012, against Baghdatis, another usual suspect, he was the first to break the 23:00 rule, finishing three minutes later. Anecdotes, or something (much) more than that, about the back of a player who, against Kokkinakis, played his 250th Grand Slam match. Against Bautista, he will seek the fourth round of a major for the first time since 2017 (quarterfinals at Wimbledon)in an Australian Open that he has never fully conquered (five times runner-up), but that cannot be understood without his figure.

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