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“It ends in a bit of a farce” – Andy Murray on his 4 AM finish at Australian Open

Though he was elated to win, Andy Murray explains why finishing a match after 4 AM is far from an ideal situation.

Andy Murray 2023 Australian Open (AI/Reuters/Panoramic) Andy Murray 2023 Australian Open (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Andy Murray played for five hours and 45 minutes on Thursday-night-turned-Friday-morning, his epic victory over Thanasi Kokkinakis ending at 4:05 AM just hours before the Melbourne sunrise.

The Scot was elated to win but also – clearly – heavily fatigued.

“It’s obviously amazing to win the match, but I also want to go to bed now. It’s great. But I want to sleep.”

4 AM Finish – I don’t know who it’s beneficial for

It’s a debate that has long persisted in tennis, but it hasn’t reached a boiling point, and therefore hasn’t effectuated any change. We saw it at the last Grand Slam in New York, when Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner battled until 2:50 AM, the Spaniard coming through the epic quarter-final clash and eventually winning the title.

“A match like that, we come here after the match, and that’s what discussion is. Rather than it being an epic Murray-Kokkinakis match, it ends in a bit of a farce.”

— Andy Murray

They are gladiatorial clashes that help define the fighting spirit that the heroes of our sport embody. But they are also incredibly chaotic and inconvenient for players, on-court officials, fans and journalists.

Murray was asked if tennis needs to stop it with these uber late finishes during his post-match press conference (yes, he did one in the wee hours of the morning!):

“I don’t know who it’s beneficial for,” he said. “A match like that, yeah, we come here after the match, and that’s what discussion is. Rather than it being like an epic Murray-Kokkinakis match, it ends in a bit of a farce.”

Murray didn’t want to sound bitter. He thanked the fans that stayed til the end, and lauded the officials that had to work the late shift. But his words conveyed what many of us have tried to express over the years: yes, it’s a problem, but what can be done?

Don’t want my kids being ball kids and coming home at 5

“Amazingly people stayed until the end. I really appreciate people doing that, creating an atmosphere for us at the end. I really appreciate that. Some people need to work the following day and everything,” he said. “If my child was a ball kid for a tournament, they’re coming home at 5 in the morning, as a parent, I’m snapping at that. It’s not beneficial for them. 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.”

Wimbledon, with its curfews, doesn’t have the problem and doesn’t seem to suffer for it, but at the Australian Open, US Open and now Roland-Garros, which added night sessions in 2022, night sessions are embraced and the atmosphere is lauded; there simply doesn’t seem to be an impetus to change.

In other words, be ready to stay up late…

“Yeah, we talk about it all the time,” Murray said. “It’s been spoken about for years. When you start the night matches late and have conditions like that, these things are going to happen.”

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