Australian Open: 'Reaching the second round of grand slams doesn't motivate me' – Murray frustrated by early exit

By Sports Desk January 20, 2022

Taro Daniel delivered a fine display as he defeated former world number one Andy Murray in straight sets at the Australian Open.

Murray, a five-time finalist in Melbourne, defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 in his first-round match on Tuesday, yet the Scot was no match for Japan's Daniel two days later.

Perhaps fatigue played its part, with Murray struggling to find his rhythm against the qualifier, who is ranked 120th in the world.

Murray had never before lost to a player ranked as low as Daniel, who has reached the third round of a grand slam for the first time.

Daniel sealed a 6-4 6-4 6-4 success with a neat backhand volley, taking the match at the first time of asking.

Murray, who had been targetting a "deep run" in the tournament, walked off court in disgruntled fashion, offering a quick acknowledgement to the crowd after his first appearance in the season's opening major since 2019.

Asked in his post-match news conference if he planned to return to Melbourne next year, Murray told reporters: "Yes, but not if I do what I did tonight too often.

"I want to perform well on the big events and what I did tonight was not good enough. Reaching the second round of grand slams doesn't particularly motivate me."

While Murray was far from the level he displayed against Basilashvili, Daniel's performance was more than worthy of victory.

"Winning a big match like this is unbelievable," the 28-year-old said. "It was an amazing level from me, I was getting nervous in the third set.

"I tried not to make a big deal about this – everyone said I was playing Murray – but I tried to treat it like another match."

Murray, meanwhile, did not use fatigue as an excuse.

"I felt alright physically so I was pleased from that perspective," he said. "I just made way too many errors on the court."

The statistics back up Murray's claim. He won just two out of 11 break points and made 49 unforced errors, with Daniel only making 21.

Daniel struck 12 aces to Murray's seven, recording a first-serve win percentage of 79.

Murray's first-serve win percentage was down at 66, while he also made three double faults to Daniel's two.

Related items

  • French Open: Tsitsipas through against "complete player" Kolar French Open: Tsitsipas through against "complete player" Kolar

    Stefanos Tsitsipas called Zdenek Kolar a "complete player", despite ultimately defeating his Czech opponent in the second round of the French Open.

    Tsitsipas was relatively untroubled in the first set, but was made to work for the win after that as he and Kolar exchanged one tie-break each before the number four seed finally secured victory with another tie-break in the fourth set, sealing it 6-3 7-6 (10-8) 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (9-7).

    Kolar is ranked 134th in the world but looked every bit a threat to Tsitsipas on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, hitting 57 winners and succeeding with 29 of 37 net points (78 per cent).

    Speaking at a news conference after his win, Tsitsipas explained the difficulties he experienced, saying: "He's someone I knew a little bit. It's never easy playing guys that don't really play on the ATP Tour. You don't really know what to expect. I guess they play more free.

    "It's always like this. They really have a nothing-to-lose mentality. It's a different mentality than what we have, I think, which sometimes can really be brutal on the court and create some good tennis.

    "He was really pushing a lot today, getting after every ball. His body was behind every ball. Running fast, reacting fast. Good net game. Complete player, I would say. Yeah, it wasn't easy out there to face him and come up with some good solutions."

    Tsitsipas - who hit 25 aces - displayed some of his oft-seen frustration as he struggled to stay on top of his opponent, and was asked if his hardest obstacle was Kolar or himself.

    "I guess both today," he said. "I had a lot of opportunities, break points, playing quite well, staying within the game. He was coming up with some really good ideas and I think dealt with all of the situations so maturely, not overexaggerating anything. He's an intelligent player, I would say.

    "Look, last year there were moments where it was about me and the way I deal with situations on the court, not focusing that much on who is on the other side. It's all about perspective. It's sometimes good to focus on what you are doing, but also if you're not feeling great, you have to see the other side too."

    Having rallied from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti in the first round, and now being made to work hard by Kolar, Tsitsipas will now face Mikael Ymer after the Swede beat 29th seed Dan Evans on Thursday.

  • French Open: 'We are responsible for our racket' – Alexandrova heated after racket slam incident in loss French Open: 'We are responsible for our racket' – Alexandrova heated after racket slam incident in loss

    Ekaterina Alexandrova said the "rules were against" her after she lost to Irina-Camelia Begu at the French Open, where her Romanian opponent accidentally hit a child in the crowd with her racket.

    The incident occurred in the third set of the second round match on Thursday, with Begu slamming her racket in frustration after a lost point, inadvertently bouncing it off the court's surface and into the crowd, where it struck the youngster.

    Begu has since apologised, calling it "embarrassing".

    There was a short break in play as officials and supervisors checked on the crying child, before ultimately deciding to give Begu a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct.

    Once play resumed, Begu immediately broke Alexandrova's serve, and won six of the next eight games to seal a 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 6-4 victory.

    In an Instagram post after her loss, Alexandrova expressed her disappointment, suggesting the rules had been against her.

    "So disappointed to leave [Roland Garros] like that, I was trying to do my best, but seems like the rules were against me today," she wrote. "This shouldn't be happening. 

    "I hope after today's match rules will be improved for everyone's safety. We are responsible for our racket."

    Speaking to the media after her win, Begu was apologetic for her actions.

    "Well, it's an embarrassing moment for me. I just want to apologise," she said. "My whole career I didn't do something like this, and I feel really bad and sorry. 

    "So I'm just going to say again, sorry for the incident and, yeah, it was just an embarrassing moment for me.

    She added: "It was a difficult moment because I didn't want to hit that racket, you know. 

    "You hit the clay with the racket, but you never expect [it] to fly that much. 

    "It was, as I said, embarrassing moment for me, and I just want to end it and not talk about it."

  • French Open: Halep reveals panic attack in Zheng defeat French Open: Halep reveals panic attack in Zheng defeat

    Former world number one Simona Halep says she suffered a panic attack during her second round match with Zheng Qinwen, contributing to her early French Open exit.

    The 2018 Roland Garros champion became the latest big name to make a shock departure from Paris inside the first week after blowing a first set lead to lose 2-6 6-2 6-1.

    It marked a major scalp for the unseeded Zhang, who previously lost to Halep in January, and was arguably the biggest win of the Chinese teenager's career at her competition debut.

    But Halep, who looked to be in cruise control early on, revealed she suffered an unexpected setback that threw her rhythm in her post-match comments, though she has now recovered.

    "I was playing well at the start," she stated. "I had a break in the second set, but then something happened. I just lost it.

    "It was just a panic attack. I didn't know how to handle it, because I don't have [them] often. I don't really know why it happened, because I was leading the match. I was playing well

    "After the match, [it] was pretty tough.  But now I'm good. I'm recovered, and I will learn from this episode. It's good that now I can smile."

    On her overall time at Roland Garros, Halep admitted she was happy to come through it unscathed, adding: "Tomorrow is a new day. 

    "I know it's like a cliche, but it's a new day, and I'll wake up motivated to keep working. [I've] no injury, which is really good. Now I'm in a good place."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.