• Sun. Dec 3rd, 2023

Murray muzzled again by Novak but Scotland returns two champions

ByConor Matchett

Feb 5, 2016

For Britain as a whole, the Australian Open 2016 was one of the most successful Grand Slams in living memory, with two Grand Slam champions, a men’s runner up, and a women’s semi-finalist.

Jo Konta, Aussie-born but British by heart, shocked the women’s game by marching to her first ever grand slam semi-final and Britain’s first woman semi-finalist at Melbourne since Sue Barker in 1977.

Konta went on to lose to eventual champion Angelique Kerber in her semi-final, but will likely rise into the top 30 after her epic run.

In the men’s draw it was deja-vu for Andy Murray. A depleted main draw after Rafael Nadal succumbed to a first round defeat against Verdasco meant that the way through to the final for Murray was clearer than once feared.

After an impressive romp through the early stages of the tournament he made it to the semi-final after dropping only two sets along the way.

Up against the big-hitting Milos Raonic, Murray was taken to five sets in an epic match between one of the best returners in the game and one of the biggest servers, with Murray fighting to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2.

It was then up to Murray to overcome Novak Djokovic, a familiar situation for the Aussie fans with this being the fifth time the Scot has come up against Djokovic in the final, with all four being won by the Serb. Was it going to be deja-vu all over again?

Murray, waiting on news from his wife about the arrival of their first child, was completely and utterly destroyed. Winning in straight sets (6-1, 7-5, 7-6), Djokovic barely broke a sweat.

It was not all bad news for Scotland though, on Saturday wheelchair tennis player Gordon Reid was in both the singles and the doubles final. Coming up against the Belgian Joachim Gerard, Reid won in straight sets, 7-6 (9-7) 6-4.

In the doubles final however, Reid and Japanese partner Shingo Kunieda could not add to Reid’s tally, losing 6-3 3-6 7-5 despite being 5-0 up in the final set. Reid stated to the BBC afterwards that: “Winning a Grand Slam was never the goal when I started.

“It’s great to have their [the Murray’s] support, I saw Andy and Jamie in the locker room just after my match and I got a big congratulations from them.

“It’s been a long week with some long days after some of the rain delays and originally we were supposed to play our doubles final yesterday.

“I had an even longer three set match earlier in the week in my singles semi-final against Gustavo [Fernandez] and although we are bitterly disappointed we gave everything”, he told the BBC.

It was not all disappointment in the doubles however, with Jamie Murray going one better than his brother alongside Bruno Soares, beating Serbian-born Canadian and Czech veterans Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek 2-6 6-4 7-5.

This victory was certainly unprecedented with Murray and Soares only having teamed up one month before the tournament after Murray split with his previous partner John Peers.

With a Davis Cup in his pocket as well, and Great Britain now with two Grand Slam champions from Australia, the rest of the season looks promising for all involved.

The French Open is next, and Murray, Murray, Konta, and Reid will be looking to build on their success. With Konta resurgent, Jamie Murray tasting success, and Andy looking for revenge, the chance for further success in Grand Slams looks good.

Image courtesy of Carine06.

By Conor Matchett

Conor Matchett is a current third year Philosophy student and ex-Sports Editor. He presents a sports chat show, ‘Extra Time’, on FreshAir.org.uk.

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