Australian Open: Tournament director Tiley defends Murray-Kokkinakis 4am finish

By Sports Desk January 20, 2023

Tournament director Craig Tiley has no plans to change the Australian Open schedule despite a 4am finish for Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Murray stormed back from two sets down to beat Australian Kokkinakis 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5 early in the early hours of Friday morning on Margaret Court Arena.

The three-time grand slam champion sealed an incredible victory in a second-round thriller that took five hours and 45 minutes to settle.

That was the longest match in Brit Murray's career and the 4.05am finish was the third-latest in the history of the sport.

Murray made his feelings over having to play at that time of day very clear, but Tiley did not see an alternative option.

"You would expect from 7pm to 12pm (the evening session) in that five-hour window, you would get two matches," Tiley said. "We also have to protect the matches. If you just put one match at night and there’s an injury, you don't have anything for fans or broadcasters.

"At this point there is no need to alter the schedule. We always look at it when we do the debrief like we do every year, we've had long matches before, at this point we've got to fit the matches into the 14 days so you don't have many options."

Murray vented his frustration at the chair umpire during the match and stated after his victory that he did not see the logic in playing so late.

"I don't know who it's beneficial for," Murray said. "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.

"But 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. 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.

"We talk about it all the time, and it's been spoken about for years. But when you start the night matches late and have conditions like that, these things are going to happen."

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