After spending 14 hours on court over three rounds, Andy Murray’s fight finally ended at the Australian Open on Saturday. But not after the 35-year-old Scotsman had rolled the clock back to a time when he was among the best players in the world.
At the ongoing season’s first Grand Slam, while the spotlight trained on Novak Djokovic, returning to the tournament after being unceremoniously deported last year and on Rafael Nadal, the defending champion, Murray was hardly the player to watch — except when the draws came out.
Matteo Berrettini, the 2021 Wimbledon finalist and 13th seed in Melbourne, drew the short end of the stick in getting Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion in the first round. While Murray has not won an ATP title since 2019, almost retired from the game before returning to the sport after a surgery that gave him a metal hip and is ranked No. 66 in the world, he still had the experience and skill to beat the best — on his day.
After four hours and 49 minutes on court, Murray beat Berrettini 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7, 7-6 in the first round. The second round match was longer — five hours and 45 minutes to beat Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 7-5. The match ended past four in the morning, just a couple of hours before daybreak, a gruelling session on court for the senior pro.