MELBOURNE, Australian — Let’s say you’re Andy Murray. You’re cruising against a man named Stephane Robert, a 33-year old journeyman ranked No. 119 in the world who only made it into this year’s Australian Open as a lucky loser. In fact, through the first two sets you’ve lost just three games and you’d really prefer to get on and off the court quickly to save some energy, grab a nice dinner downtown and maybe scout your quarterfinal opponent in the much-anticipated night match between Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
And yet there you are, stuck in in a third-set tiebreak after failing to serve out the match at 5-4. And then you play a horrible tiebreaker to lose it 8-6. Now you’re stuck on court for at least another 40 minutes, you’ll probably have to cancel your dinner reservation and you’re going to miss the first set of Federer-Tsonga. You’d be angry. Angry enough to break a racket.
And that’s precisely what Murray did. After a challenge on set point went against him he introduced his trusty Head racket to the Aussie Blue courts of Melbourne. Murray’s not a regular racket-smasher, so you can tell how disappointed he was in for another set of tennis.
“I put a lot of hard work into that third set,” Murray said after the match. “I maybe lost concentration when I served for it. In the tiebreak I didn’t lose concentration. I just missed a couple of shots, one just wide on a forehand I hit clean, just missed. Then losing that set was frustrating because it obviously means you’re out there another 30, 40 minutes at least, when I would preferably had been in the locker room. My racquet bit the dust. Unfortunate for it.”