‘I have a big heart’: Murray delights in latest five-set victory in Melbourne

Andy Murray has described his effort in his incredible recovery from two sets down against Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Australian Open as “unbelievable” after he fought back to defeat the Australian in a match that finished after 4am on Friday morning.

“It was unbelievable that I managed turn that around,” said Murray. “Thanasi was serving unbelievably, hitting his forehand huge and I don’t know how I managed to get through it. I did start playing better as the match went on – and yes, I have a big heart.”

The 35-year-old produced one of the greatest performances of his late career as he defeated the home favourite Kokkinakis in five sets, 4-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-5 in a match that finished at 4.05am, after five hours and 45 minutes on court.

After just two rounds, Murray has been on court for 10 hours and 34 minutes, having saved a match point in his five-set win over Matteo Berrettini, the 13th seed, in their 4hr 49min first round match on Tuesday. Murray reasoned that the lengthy matches are a reflection of the slower balls in use at the Australian Open this year.

“That’s what’s gonna happen when you play in cold conditions at that time of the day and with balls like that. You’re gonna get long rallies, long points. I actually felt better on the court today physically than I did the other day which is a positive thing but finishing at four o’clock isn’t ideal,” said Murray.

The match is the third latest finish in tennis history and the longest match of Murray’s career. “The match was obviously very up and down,” said Murray. “There was frustration and there was tension, there was excitement and all of that stuff. And then at the end … it’s obviously amazing to win the match but I also want to go to bed now. I’m like … it’s great but I want to sleep.”

Murray says that he hopes early morning tennis matches will be eradicated, describing the spectacle as “a bit of a farce” and not good for players, fans and officials alike. “I don’t know who it’s beneficial for,” said Murray. “A match like that … 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 at the end. I really appreciate that.”

source: theguardian.com