Andy Murray won the longest match of his career as he battled back from two sets down in the second round of the Australian Open in an epic that lasted five hours and 45 minutes.
The 35-year-old’s victory over Thanasi Kokkinakis finished at 4.05am, the third-latest finish to a tennis match on record.
Murray achieved his best result since 2017, forcing a deciding set before claiming victory 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5.
It was the 250th and longest Grand Slam match of his career.
But former world number one, Martina Navratiova, criticised the length of the match as “crazy”.
She posted on Twitter: “It is essential we create better rules in tennis regarding the weather (light and wind) and starting times or cut-off times for matches.
“Murray and Kokkinakis will finish around 4am. Crazy- no other sport does this.”
The longest match in history, between American player John Isner and French rival Nicolas Mahut, lasted 11 hours and five minutes.
The first-round match at the 2010 Wimbledon men’s singles tournament went to five sets played over three days and a 138-point tiebreaker.
During the match between Murray and Kokkinakis, at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, the Australian ranted at the umpire at a crucial moment.
The 26-year-old was given a warning for a time violation just as he was about to toss the ball up to serve during a third deuce in the second game of the third set.
Kokkinakis blamed noises from the crowd for taking so long.
Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion, vowed to continue playing after undergoing hip surgery in 2019.
Image: Thanasi Kokkinakis reacts during the match against Murray Pic: AP
Image: Kokkinakis congratulates Murray on his win Pic: AP Read more:
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Murray said of his win: “It’s unbelievable how I managed to turn that around because Thanasi was serving unbelievable and hitting his forehand huge.
“Yeah, I have a big heart. I rely on my love and my drive and my respect for the game, that’s why I kept going.”
He added after the epic battle on court: “Thanks for staying, but now I think we should all get off to bed.”
Murray has not gone past the third round of a Grand Slam since 2017, when his hip condition came to light.
He will now face Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat him at the 2019 Australian Open.
Earlier this week, Murray knocked out Italian 13th seed Matteo Berrettini out of the tournament, in one of his biggest victories in recent years.