Veteran Andy Murray roared back in a five-set epic which ended past 4:00am to reach the Australian Open third round with a remarkable victory over home hope Thanasi Kokkinakis early Friday.
In front of a raucous but weary Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, the Briton finally prevailed 4-6, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 7-5.
At five hours and 45 minutes it was the longest match in Murray’s storied career.
5 hours and 45 minutes.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2023
The 35-year-old former world number one will play 24th seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in round three.
“It was unbelievable that I managed to do it, to turn it around,” said the three-time Grand Slam champion, who has a metal hip and looked on the verge of retirement four years ago at Melbourne Park.
“I don’t know how I managed to get through it.
“I started playing better as the match went on, and yes, I have a big heart,” said Murray, to roars of approval.
“I’ve always loved competing, I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve, I’ve always shown my emotions when I play.”
Addressing the spectators who had witnessed a classic, he added: “Thanks so much for staying – it’s ridiculously late.”
The 159th-ranked Australian Kokkinakis raced into a two-set lead, giving little…