They Said What? Rough Night
“I woke up quite a few times last night. I kept waking up. So I was ready to play at 4 a.m.”—Andy Murray on how he spent the night after his match against Philipp Kohlschreiber was postponed at 7-7 in the fifth set yesterday.
PARIS—More than one reporter at the press conference following Murray’s 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 12-10 win (total elapsed time: 4:07) over Kohlschreiber compared Murray to a new father following the birth of his first child. He certainly looked and felt like one, thanks to the novelty of the situation, and how the prospect of picking up at 7-all in the fifth on a new day affected his rest.
The only thing missing was nightmares about double-faulting at match point, or Kohlschreiber growing two extra arms and presenting twice as many problems as he does with two.
“No, no, not dreaming,” Murray said of his trials last night. “Just waking up a lot. When you know you have to come back the next day and it's 7-all, and every single point counts, you're obviously going to be a bit anxious and a bit nervous when you go to sleep and then also when you wake up in the night.”
Murray wasn’t the only one with the night terrors. Kohlschreiber’s was restive as well. “My sleep wasn’t that good either,” he confessed. “I was sweating a lot. You drink a lot (during a match), so you go quite often to the toilet. No, not a great night either.”
The match was suspended last night at a fortuitous moment for Murray. At the time, the superbly versatile Kohlschreiber was moving the ball about with consummate skill and reaching into his deep bag of tricks to win points. On top of that, Murray felt cramps coming on. The postponement was a reprieve for him, and he wasn’t about to waste the opportunity. Knowing that they were returning to play at a delicate time, he took special precautions.
For one thing, he eschewed the typical game-day routine of a light hit before the match followed by relaxation until the court comes free. Instead, he practiced at 10:15 on Court Suzanne Lenglen (where his resumption was second match on the schedule), and then went to the back practice courts and hit for 30 minutes—right up to the end of the first match on Lenglen. “I gave myself the best chance to hit the ball clean from the start of the match.”
Another thing: Murray had cleverly figured out that he would be serving with the oldest possible balls (they’re changed every nine games) and, more important, Kolhschreiber would then enjoy the advantage of serving with new balls. It was something Kohlschreiber didn’t account for.
“When the umpire told us at the start,” Murray said, “He (Kohlschreiberr) went immediately to change his racquet because he was going to play with an older racquet. He changed to a brand new racquet because he didn't realize we were starting with old balls.”
Both men did a great job coming out of the gates, with neither threatening the other until Kohlschreiber faced a match point at 8-9. After a high quality rally he approached the net and finally ended the point with a successful smash.
The No. 28 seed struck back to earn a break point of his own in the next game, but Murray replied with an unreturnable serve down the center stripe. He then produced two of his best shots of the day—a pair of forehand placements, one inside out, the other a crosscourt placement—to hold for 10-9.
The end came quickly when Kohlschreiber served the 22nd game. Murray missed a passing shot to start things off, but he followed on with a cross-court backhand placement. He then hit a terrific serve return and Kohlschreiber drilled his backhand answer into the net.
Murray reached match point when Kohlschreiber pulled a set-up inside-out forehand just wide of the line. At match point, Kohlschreiber, whose serve is the weak link in his game, missed his first chance. Murray unloaded with the backhand on the mediocre second serve and that ended it.
“He makes you do a lot of running,” Murray said of his opponent. “He uses the angles extremely well. Yeah, once he's in control of the point, it's tough to get him out of that.”
Murray did a good job at accomplishing that, and thereby earned himself a nice, long, afternoon nap.