WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 02: Andy Murray of Great Britain shakes hands with Marius Copil of Romania after winning their match during Day Six of the Citi Open at the Rock Creek Tennis Center on August 2, 2018 in Washington, DC. Mitchell Layton/Getty Images/AFP/ Mitchell Layton / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP
Andy Murray’s emotional condition and physical status was the talk of the ATP and WTA Washington Open after reaching Friday’s quarter-finals left the three-time Grand Slam champion shattered and weeping.
Britain’s Murray, in only his third event after an 11-month layoff with a right hip injury, edged Romania’s Marius Copil 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) in a Thursday match that began at midnight thanks to rain delays and ended at 3:02 a.m. Friday morning — the latest finish in the tournament’s 50-year history by 35 minutes.
“I don’t think I should be put in a position like that,” Murray said. “(My body) doesn’t feel great right now.
“I’ve had a few long matches. Finishing matches at three in the morning isn’t good for anyone involved in the event, players, TV, fans, anyone.
“When you’re expected to come back and perform the next day, I think that’s unreasonable.”
The 31-year-old Scotsman said that he might not play his scheduled Friday last-match quarter-final against 19-year-old Australian Alex De Minaur, who ousted two seeded players Thursday.
“Not playing, potentially, is possible. I don’t know how players are expected to recover from that,” Murray said.
“It’s a very difficult position to be coming back from a long injury to be finishing matches at 3 o’clock in the morning. By the time you finish doing recovery and everything it’s 5.30 or 6 o’clock in the morning.
“I’ll try to sleep as late as I can but with your body clock you might get a few hours sleep. It’s like playing two matches in a day. I’m not sure how well I’ll recover from that.”
Tournament director Keely O’Brien told the Washington Post she hopes Murray will play as planned.
“I hope we see him on court tonight fighting like he did last night, because that, I believe, is the right message for anyone in this sport,” she said.
“Certainly if he can’t play because of his injury that’s one thing. But he’s a fighter, and he doesn’t give up, and he needs to have everyone see that.”
The Washington event starts mid-week men’s matches typically not before 4 p.m., a nod to past complaints by some of having to repeatedly play in the heat of the day while bigger names had cooler conditions at night.
“I do understand 3 a.m. is very difficult for everyone,” O’Brien said. “But when you have four days of rain that is scattered throughout the day, there’s very little room for flexibility with the schedule.”
Tsitsipas beats Goffin
Murray might end up with two matches in a day anyway as rain struck for a fifth consecutive day Friday, causing a brief delay for 10th-seeded Greek teen Stefanos Tsitsipas in his 6-3, 6-4 upset of Belgian third seed David Goffin.
With storms forecast to return about the time Murray’s match would start, he could face an early quarter-final and late semi on Saturday.
Tsitsipas, 19, took one of the biggest victories of his young career by ousting Goffin in 74 minutes. Ranked a career-high 32nd, he reached the fourth round last month at Wimbledon, becoming the first Greek player in the last 16 of a Grand Slam in the Open Era.
Tsitsipas reached his first career ATP final in May at Barcelona, losing to Rafael Nadal.
Defending champion and world number three Alexander Zverev of Germany was set to face Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori, with the winner to face Tsitsipas, and local hero Denis Kudla was to meet Russian 16th seed Andrey Rublev in other quarter-finals.
On the women’s side, two-time Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova was to face Kazak eighth seed Yulia Putintseva for a semi-final spot.
Murray weeps after win
Former world number one Murray, now ranked 832, has played three of the week’s four longest matches, gutting out three three-set wins over a combined eight hours and 11 minutes.
But the effort took a toll. Moments after beating Copil, Murray went to his seat, buried his face in a towel and cried for several minutes, sobs audible over courtside microphones. Even as he walked off the court he was fighting back more tears, his head down.
“Just the emotions coming at the end of an extremely long day and a long match,” Murray said.
The frustrations included Murray leading the first-set tie-breaker 5-0 only to drop the next seven points and the set. His gait was uneven at times during the match, sparking concerns over possible reinjury of his surgically repaired hip.