Andy Murray’s late-night heroics leave McEnroe in awe

Andy Murray Credit: Alamy
Andy Murray Credit: Alamy

Andy Murray’s heroics during his second-round match against Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Australian Open has left John McEnroe in awe.

Former world number one McEnroe, who works as a pundit for Eurosport, was particularly impressed with the level Murray was able to play at, considering the five-setter finished at 4am the following morning.

The 35-year-old Murray found himself two sets down against local favourite Kokkinakis, but rolled back the years to eventually win 4-6, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-3, 7-5 after five hours and 45 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.


“I am stunned in disbelief that they were still playing at that hour. For starters, it was insane that matches at that level are played 4-430am in the morning,” McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, said.

“Murray, we knew he had a heart of a champion, that goes without saying, but that’s you know, him digging and deeper than I’ve ever seen him with everything he’s been through.

“It makes me personally, as an ex-player, proud to look at these tennis players – Andy, in particular, Kokkinakis, you feel for him, but it’s one of those moments where you feel proud of your sport and you see guys giving 110% for 5.5 hours.

“While on the one hand, it is historic, you also worry, you know about the consequences down the road. There’s recovery, when you could even possibly think about going to sleep, how do you even look at the next opponent?

“Those are things for tomorrow and you hope that in some way there could be some type of level of recovery but just enjoy the moment – you put a smile on everybody’s face. It was one of the most insane things I’ve seen in all my years watching tennis.”

World number 159 Kokkinakis seemed to have it in the bag when he served for the match while leading 5-3 in the third set, but couldn’t put Murray away.

From there on Murray, who had dropped to 66th on the rankings heading into the tournament, grew in stature, won the third-set tie-break, and the fourth to level matters.

He then sealed the deal with a break in the 11th game of the final set, to ultimately record his 11th win from two sets down, more than any player in the history of the sport.

“I would say to Andy Murray that you make our sport shine. The never give up, never say die mottoes that you hear, cliches.

“You would send his way right now because this is about the love of the sport more than anything else. His desire to compete, to go out and just give what he’s got,” McEnroe continued.

“This guy is one of the great players of our era that is not talked about because of what the other three top guys have accomplished, but he’s a legendary player and I think that these type of matches cement his reputation even though the likelihood of recovery is not high.

“I would hope he can enjoy the moment and hope that he can rebound to some extent.”

Murray will take on 24th seed Roberto Bautista Agut on Saturday with a place in the Round of 16 on offer.

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