WASHINGTON — Andy Murray sat in his changeover chair and sobbed into a towel after winning his third consecutive three-setter to reach the Citi Open quarterfinals, then complained about a schedule that had him on court until 3 a.m.
Murray worked deep into the night to get past 93rd-ranked Marius Copil of Romania 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4) in a match that finished in the wee hours in front of 100 or so spectators after beginning at midnight as Thursday turned to Friday.
“Finishing matches at 3 in the morning is not good. It’s not good for the players. It’s not good for anyone, I don’t think, involved in the event. It’s not good for fans, TV. Nobody,” said Murray, a former No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam champion who is trying to return to form after having hip surgery in January.
Currently ranked 832nd, Murray ended an 11-month absence from the tour in June, playing just three matches before arriving at the Citi Open.
Murray has now played a trio of three-setters – each lasting more than 2 1/2 hours – in a four-day span.
He’s scheduled to face 19-year-old Alex de Minaur of Australia in the quarterfinals Friday night.
But speaking to a small group of reporters outside the locker room, Murray said he “potentially” could consider not playing.
“I’m giving my view right now as someone who’s just come back from a very, very long injury layoff. I don’t think I should be put in a position like that, when you’re expected to come out and perform the next day. I don’t think it’s reasonable,” Murray said. “And I’m disappointed with that, because I know that the weather’s tricky and I know it is for the scheduling, but it’s a very difficult position to be in.”
Thursday’s play at the hard-court tuneup for the U.S. Open was delayed at the outset by about 3 1/2 hours because of rain.
Showers earlier in the week jumbled the schedule and forced some other men to play two matches on Thursday.
Asked after beating Copil how his body is holding up, Murray replied: “It doesn’t feel great, just now.”
“I don’t know how you are expected to recover from that. By the time you’re done with all your recovery and stuff, it’s going to be 5:30, 6 o’clock in the morning. I’d obviously try and sleep as late as I can, but with the way your body clock is and stuff, you know, you might get a few hours’ sleep,” Murray said. “It’s not good. And it’s basically like playing two matches in a day.”
After taking a 5-0 lead in the opening-set tiebreaker, Murray dropped seven consecutive points to hand the lead over to Copil.
But, yelling at himself or his coach rather frequently, Murray came all the way back to win and improve to 4-2 in his comeback.
When he got to the sideline after the match concluded, he covered his face with a towel and cried, his chest heaving.
“Just the emotions coming out at the end of an extremely long day,” Murray said, “and a long match.”