January 19, 2023
Andy Murray just achieved something so special that it must feel almost as good as winning a Grand Slam.
Sometimes matches are so memorable that it doesn’t seem matter whether there’s a trophy waiting at the end of the contest.
Murray might have been too tired to lift one anyway. He had just played his longest ever match.
Yes, at the age of 35, he overcame a 26-year old who hit 102 winners and lost.
Andy Murray must now be a genuine contender at Wimbledon 2023! Nothing is beyond him.
We haven’t been this excited to see Sir Andy at Wimbledon for many years. His will to win is truly inspirational.
Andy took five hours and forty-five minutes to defeat Thanasi Kokkinakis – a man with a drive-volley as sweet as any in the game.
One spectacular point earned Murray a third-set break-back and symbolized his remarkable spirit better than any. From way behind the baseline, he scrambled to return solid Kokkinakis smashes to both corners and stayed alive against all odds.
Imagine the crowds at Wimbledon 2023 gasping in delight at that Andy Murray defiance!
He never gave up. He wanted it more than the younger man playing in front of his own crowd. Resistance was fierce, though. This victory took most of the night.
Murray’s previous longest match was a mere five hours and seven minutes. But these days he has a metal hip, let’s not forget. He hobbles between points like an eighty-year-old.
Just as well he plays those points like a hungry twenty-year-old – and his body is driven by the heart of a lion.
How else could he come back from two sets down? How could he play on so relentlessly towards an Australian morning, and retrieve a seemingly hopeless situation?
Eventually Andy yelled in sheer ecstasy at his reward. The chance to do it all again. That’s all he wanted.
To win 4-6, 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 7-5 seemed fanciful at one stage.
Murray said as much. ‘I don’t know. Unbelievable that I managed to turn that round and get through it. I did start playing better as the match went on and – I have a big heart.’
Andy reckons no one can match him for comebacks from two sets down anymore. This was his eleventh Lazarus act.
Who is gutsier than Murray when the chips are down? Not even the great Rafael Nadal could make that claim.
How does Andy do it? ‘I rely on my love for the game and for competing. My respect for this event and the competition. That’s why I kept going.’
Beautiful words from Murray, a man totally in love with tennis. He may shout and swear and grimace. But he cherishes every single moment he has left in the limelight.
‘I don’t look happy out there. But that’s when I’m happiest on the inside. I’ve always loved competing. That’s who I am.’
Andy Murray will soon be dreaming of lifting the trophy at Wimbledon 2023.
For now, his mission is to win his first Aussie Open title. But after more than ten hours on court in his last two matches, that would be more than miraculous. It’s too much for any of us to expect.
He was playing long into the early hours of what should have been his recovery day, after all. But the occasion was so unique, so unforgettable that he didn’t seem to care.
‘Thanks for staying,’ he told the night-owl remnants of the once-huge crowd. ‘Its ridiculously late. But it really helps when you’re there. I think everyone – including me – should get off to bed now.’
Can he find the energy to do this again, one more time? ‘Let’s hope I can keep going here, I need to keep recovering,’ he told us.
Whatever happens in Melbourne, Andy Murray will be ready for Wimbledon 2023.
We can’t wait. Will you be there on Centre Court for the greatest sporting show on earth?