Andy Murray has raised the bar for 35-year-olds who have a metal hip after his incredible comeback win over Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round of the 2023 Australian Open.
After dropping the first two sets, Murray won a third-set tiebreaker to stay alive. He won the fourth and fifth sets to seal the win in five hours, 45 minutes in a match that ended after 4 a.m. in Australia.
José Morgado @josemorgado
35yo Andy Murray, a former world #1 with a metal hip, who played 5h two days ago, comes back to beat Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6, 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-3, 7-5 in the 2nd longest ever <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AusOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AusOpen</a> match: 5h45, finished after 4am in the morning.<br><br>Into the 3rd round<br><br>Epic. Legendary. All of that <a href="https://t.co/JkWVFy5YoV">pic.twitter.com/JkWVFy5YoV</a>
Tennis TV @TennisTV
One of the all-time GREAT comebacks!<br><br>The moment <a href="https://twitter.com/andy_murray?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@andy_murray</a> defeated Kokkinakis after a 5-hour-45-minute EPIC 😨<a href="https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AustralianOpen</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AusOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AusOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/QjLjnLOtAO">pic.twitter.com/QjLjnLOtAO</a>
This is the second consecutive five-set thriller Murray has won to start the Australian Open. He took down No. 13 Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (10-6) in a match that "only" took four hours and 49 minutes to complete.
It was only four years ago at the Australian Open when Murray was talking about possibly retiring due to hip and back problems. He announced he underwent hip resurfacing surgery in January 2019 in an attempt to save his career.
Fans were full of praise for Murray's ability to persevere during a long match in which he was on the brink of losing in straight sets.
Christopher Clarey 🇺🇸 🇫🇷 🇪🇸 @christophclarey
It's past 4 in the morning and Andy Murray and his metal hip just came back from two sets down to deeat Thanasi Kokkinakis 4-6, 6-7 (4) 76 (5) 6-3 7-5 in five hours and 45 minutes. <br><br>That was a night worthy of a knight <a href="https://t.co/K0cIbp6AXi">pic.twitter.com/K0cIbp6AXi</a>
Joey Ellis @Jellis1016
This is why I love the sport. No time limit bailing either player out. Just you and your opponent in an absolute physical and mental WAR. <br><br>5:45 later, Andy Murray at age 35, with a metal hip, pulls off one of the more improbable comebacks I've seen. Unbelievable stuff. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AusOpen?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AusOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/ceegmOe7Zt">https://t.co/ceegmOe7Zt</a>
There was confusion throughout 2019 that Murray would have to walk away from the sport because of injury. He had to make it clear in the December of that year that he never definitively said he was going to walk away from tennis.
"I didn't think I had said that," Murray told reporters when asked about everyone's belief that he had announced his retirement in Melbourne. "I didn't really know what I had said at the press conference."
Murray won a singles title at the European Open 10 months after the hip procedure. The Scotland native has climbed all the way up to No. 66 in the current ATP rankings after falling outside of the top 800 at one point.
This is the first time Murray has reached the third round at the Australian Open since 2017. He will need to get plenty of rest before his next match against Roberto Bautista Agut after playing more than 10 hours of tennis already this week.