Murray, Djokovic disappointed with Australian Open schedule

The two tennis legends want to see changes to the schedule of the Grand Slam next year

By Web Desk
January 22, 2023
The sun was almost rising as Andy Murray departed after his win over Thanasi Kokkinakis on Friday — AFP 

Briton Andy Murray and Serbian Novak Djokovic showed disappointment over the "disrespectful" and "gruelling" schedule of the ongoing Australian Open and want to see amendments to it in the next year's edition.

The sun was almost rising as Murray departed the scene of the longest match of his career, a five-hour 45-minute battle, in which he overcame being down two sets and a break to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis on Friday at 4.05am.

Murray spent more than 14 hours on the court, which is longer than some players have needed to win a Grand Slam championship. This includes his similarly long triumph against Matteo Berrettini and his three hours and 29 minute loss to Roberto Bautista Agut on Saturday.

"It's a joke, it's a joke. You know it as well. It's disrespectful to you, disrespectful to the ball children, disrespectful to the players and we are not allowed to go to the toilet. Ridiculous!," Murray said.

Meanwhile, former world number one Djokovic agreed with Murray and said the issue needs to be addressed.

"It comes down to what the TV broadcasters want to have. That's the ultimate decision-maker. I would agree with his [Murray's] points. For the crowd, it's entertaining, it's exciting, to have matches at midnight, 1, 2, 3am. For us, it's really gruelling," he said.

"Even if you go through and win, prevail in these kind of matches, you still have to come back. You have your sleeping cycle, rhythm disrupted completely, not enough time really to recover for another five-setter. Something needs to be addressed I guess in terms of the schedule after what we've seen this year."

Djokovic's Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) has raised its visibility at Melbourne Park by appointing an eight-player council, increasing its profile after being mainly nameless since its establishment at the US Open in 2020.