‘Murray playing Challengers was amazing’

Former world No.1 Andy Murray enjoyed a full circle moment on Tuesday when he battled past No.21 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in five gruelling sets, on the very same court where he was thrown a retirement party two years ago.
Ahead of the start of his 2019 Australian Open, a tearful Murray told reporters he was on the brink of retirement as he continued to experience severe pain in his troublesome hip. Murray lost his opener that year in five sets against Roberto Bautista Agut and many assumed that was the last time we were going to see the Scot on a tennis court; so much so that the Australian Open played a video on the big screen of John Cain Arena with players paying tribute to him and bidding him farewell.
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Murray changed his mind, underwent hip resurfacing surgery and has since returned to the tour, looking to march back up the rankings.
His victory over Basilashvili on Tuesday – his first at Melbourne Park since 2017 – takes the Brit to the edge of the top 100, and his next opponent, Japan’s Taro Daniel admits he’s in awe of what Murray has endured to keep his career alive.
“It’s always crazy to imagine what a person who’s gone through that heavy of an injury has to go through mentally; how much are you going to keep damaging your body? That’s the question I’ve asked myself,” Daniel told Eurosport, after claiming his first Grand Slam victory in two years on Tuesday.
“But it’s amazing because you can see how much passion he has for the game and how and how much he’s willing to go through to just keep playing. And he doesn’t seem to care if he’s not top 10 or top 100 or whatever.
“He was playing Challengers last year, which was amazing, I thought that was crazy; a lot of respect for that. I’m playing him day after tomorrow, so not too much respect, I’m going to prepare for the match as if he was anybody else and see how it goes. I hope he’s a little tired after this five-setter.”

Ronaldo’s ‘siuu’ celebration wreaks havoc at Melbourne Park

Fans camped out at John Cain Arena created a “zoo” of an atmosphere as Nick Kyrgios put it, chanting Cristiano Ronaldo’s famous ‘siuu’ celebration, which sounded like booing throughout the entirety of Murray’s match as well as Kyrgios’ victory over Liam Broady.
Players and TV viewers alike, thought the crowd was booing instead of cheering and Murray could barely get through his on-court interview before saying: “Painful stuff those guys.”
Later in his press conference, the Brit said: “Initially, I thought it was – because there were some people booing during my practice yesterday. I have no idea what for. Yeah, so originally that's what I thought it was.
“But then yeah after a few times it was like, ‘No, they're doing that, I think it's like "siuu" or something that Ronaldo does when he scores. And, yeah, it was incredibly irritating,” he added with a smile.
Kyrgios rewarded the boisterous crowd by doing the Ronaldo celebration on court following his straight-sets triumph and later clarified to journalists the spectators were indeed not booing either player n court.
“I can't believe they did it so much. They were doing some Ronaldo thing. Ronaldo does it every time he scores. I thought they were going to do it for like 10 minutes. They did it for two-and-a-half hours, like every point. I don't know why. It was a zoo out there,” said the Australian.

‘He makes you feel stupid with the shots he hits’

British qualifier Broady attempted to describe what it was like to endure the circus that took over John Cain Arena during his loss to Kyrgios.
The affable lefty, who also thought he was being booed, had to take on the crowd as well as Kyrgios’ showmanship on his Australian Open main draw debut and confessed it was all tough to handle.
“Everyone is telling me, like, ‘Oh you'll really enjoy it. It's going to be amazing’. But I thought it was absolutely awful,” said Broady.
“I obviously wanted to go out there and win, so, I mean, losing matches in general isn't enjoyable.
“The atmosphere was incredible, but it was, it's the first time I've ever walked onto a tennis court and been booed, which was, which for me was a crazy experience.
“You get sledged from the sides like you can't believe that they don't pick up on TV. So it was a very, very difficult atmosphere to try and handle.”

Highlights: Nick Kyrgios showboats his way to win over Liam Broady

Broady at the start felt like he was going to hit back at the crowd but he contained himself in an effort to focus on the match.
“At the end of the day, as tennis players we're entertainers, and as long as the crowd are enjoying it I think we're doing our job,” he concluded.
Kyrgios put on a full show, underhand tweener serves included, before walking away from the court with a 6-4 6-4 6-3 win. Asked if he ever felt Kyrgios had crossed the line, Broady shared an interesting perspective.
“Someone said to me before the match, ‘Are you ready for the disrespect out there?’ Because sometimes he makes you feel stupid with the shots he hits, with the underarm serves through the legs and the little lobs and the dinks and then the big hits, and sometimes you feel like a bit of a club player out there. That's what he does,” explained Broady.
“That's one of his biggest weapons. I think if you told Nick to stop all of that showmanship and all the stuff that he does it would take away a big strength of his game. So, I mean, yeah, I am all for it, to be honest, even when it's against me.”

Medvedev on Kyrgios: Even if they hate him, they love to watch him

World No.2 Daniil Medvedev is bracing himself for The Nick Kyrgios Show in the second round and the Russian weighed in on the complexity of his next opponent’s character, and how he has almost become like the ultimate player you love to hate.
“He's definitely a character,” said the US Open champion on Tuesday.
“I think probably like almost everybody in the world, there are some things I adore in what he does and some things I don't like. I'm not gonna tell what exactly, but as you say, you know, he's kind of going to extreme almost all the time he's on court. That's why people love to watch him. Even if they hate him, they love to watch him, and that's his strengths.
“Yeah, so as I say, not talking about my attitude to him, I think he's a great guy out of the court. On court, some things I like, some things I don't. But, yeah, I can say this probably about many players on tour.”

‘Prince Grigor’, anyone?

Grigor Dimitrov is a close friend of Venus and Serena Williams and revealed he had seen early sneak peeks of the Will Smith movie ‘King Richard’, which retells the story of the sisters’ father Richard Williams, and how he helped them become the superstars they are today.
Dimitrov was so intrigued by the entire production process that he himself hopes to one day have a film or documentary about his own life story.
“I wanted to watch it actually with them. But we'll get the chance I think very soon hopefully when I head out to the States.
“From what I've seen, I think a lot of cool scenes, and I know obviously quite a few stories behind. It's pretty amazing.
“I've always admired when somebody does something like this, but I think also the timing is just perfect to do it, in a way, how the whole idea came about and why they did it and so on.
“What all of them have been able to do, including her other sisters, I think the whole family is honestly pretty amazing. I for one would love to do something like that one day, whether it's a documentary or a movie or whatever it is, but I would be very happy to try to do something similar.”

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria plays a backhand during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Image credit: Getty Images

Upset of the day

Australian world No.133 Maddison Inglis picked up the first Grand Slam match-win of her career with a 6-4 6-2 dismissal of US Open runner-up and No.23 seed Leylah Fernandez.
In an all-Lululemon-sponsored showdown, Inglis justified the wildcard she was given into the Australian Open main draw by dominating her Canadian opponent to set up a second round against American qualifier Hailey Baptiste.
“I was talking to mum yesterday. We started tennis just as a bonding thing with my mum and I. She said the other day, she was like, I'm so proud of you that you're playing in the Australian Open. It's amazing,” said the 24-year-old from Perth, who notched her first victory at a major on her fifth appearance.
“I think sometimes you just have to look back and think of the journey and you are at one of the biggest tournaments in the world. It's pretty special.”

Marathon of the day

In a four-hour 10-minute battle, Maxime Cressy struck 31 aces and 20 double faults en route to a 7-6(2) 7-5 6-7(4) 6-7(4) 6-4 triumph over fellow American John Isner.
The 70th-ranked Cressy, who fired 92 winners throughout the match, backed up his surprise run to the Melbourne 250 final earlier this month by upsetting the No.22 seeded Isner. The serve-and-volleyer next takes on Czech qualifier Tomas Machac.

Stats of the day

- Emma Raducanu’s 6-0 2-6 6-1 victory over Sloane Stephens was the reigning US Open champion’s first ever three-set match contested at a Grand Slam.
- Nick Kyrgios put together a serving masterclass against Liam Broady. The Australian landed 81 percent of his first serves in, won 81 percent of the points behind his first serve and 79 percent of the points behind his second serve. He fired 21 aces, averaged 205 kmph speed on his first serve and 180kmph on his second. As Broady put it succinctly, “Nick’s serve is pretty effing good’.
- Garbine Muguruza improved her undefeated record in Australian Open first rounds to 10-0, thanks to her 6-3 6-4 victory over French youngster Clara Burel on Tuesday.
- In the three matches she has played so far in 2022, Aryna Sabalenka has hit a combined 51 double faults, including the 12 she struck against Storm Sanders on Tuesday en route to the Australian Open second round.
- Another day, another Kaia Kanepi upset in the early stages of a Grand Slam. The Estonian world No.115 sent three-time major champion and No.16 seed Angelique Kerber packing 6-4 6-3 on Tuesday. The 36-year-old is now 14-22 against seeds in the opening two rounds of a major, with seven of those wins coming against top-16 seeds.
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