Murray blasts ‘farce’ 4am finish in Australian Open

BBC – Andy Murray says finishing his second-round match at the Australian Open at 4am was a “farce”.

The 35-year-old’s arduous five-set win over home favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis took five hours 45 minutes.

That followed Murray’s first-round win on Tuesday, when the Briton sealed victory in four hours 49 minutes against Italian Matteo Berrettini.

“I don’t know who it’s [the late finish] beneficial for,” said Murray on Rod Laver Arena after the match.

“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.”

Murray was two sets down and looked to be heading out of the competition before digging deep to defeat 26-year-old Kokkinakis, who is ranked 159th in the world, 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5.

He will face Spanish 24th seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round.

The rowdy fans inside the venue were treated to a fine spectacle from both players – despite it approaching the six-hour mark – but Murray also highlighted another problem with overly-long matches.

“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 Slam winner.

“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.”

The match start time of 22:20 was also an issue, according to Murray.

“We talk about it all the time, and it’s been spoken about for years,” said the Scot. “But when you start the night matches late and have [cold] conditions like that, these things are going to happen.”

Tournament director Craig Tiley said on Friday there was no need to change the schedule “at this point”, pointing to the rain and extreme heat that delayed play earlier in the week.