Andy Murray supports schedule changes at Australian Open

Five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray is cautiously optimistic the scheduling changes at the tournament can prevent the scenes he described last year as “a farce”.

The former world No. 1 said it was unlikely the extra day added to the Open would do anything to stop matches dragging into the early hours of the morning but thought other measures taken could have an impact.

Murray said the move to cut the number of day session matches on the main courts from three to two was a “good step”, but players would have to wait and see whether it actually had the intended effect.

It comes after Murray was forced into a six-hour, five-set slog with Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in last year’s second round which did not begin until after 10pm and finished at 4.05am.

“I don’t think the Sunday start will change the late finishes – I think on centre court they’re having two matches in the day, two matches in the evening,” Murray said on Friday.

“I think that will reduce the possibility for late finishes on Rod Laver, just because it’s unlikely you’re going to have the issues with the day session running into the night and having that gap where you have to clear out the stadium and get the new night session fans in.

“My understanding is on the other show courts, that’s not changing, so there is still the possibility for that to happen … maybe there will be potentially more flexibility with moving courts.”

The 36-year-old was pleased to see both professional tours working to make changes after many players had complained about the growing number of late finishes at majors in recent years.

“It just makes sense, it’s a very obvious thing that needs to change … it’s positive that there’s going to be some changes made and it will be good for everyone,” he said.

“It will definitely help with recovery for following day’s matches and things like that, but I certainly think for fans, the tournament probably just looks a wee bit more professional if you’re not finishing at three, four in the morning.

“This is a good step, I think the players will be happy with it and hopefully it works well.”

The usually dour Scot cut a brighter, more positive figure on court during the Kooyong Classic this week, where he lost to Marin Cilic on Wednesday before scoring a straight sets victory over Dominic Thiem.

He said he was making a conscious effort to enjoy his time on court in the twilight of his career.

“I definitely feel like I’m enjoying it better … tennis is a difficult game, when you’re struggling you’re obviously out there on your own and it can be difficult at times,” he said.

“I won’t be out there giggling on the court, that won’t be happening … it’s more about how you’re dealing with frustration and disappointment and everything when you’re playing.

I” don’t see Novak out there when he’s playing his matches laughing and joking around, I never saw that with Roger and Rafa – it’s not about that, it’s probably about how you’re treating yourself in those moments and being a bit kinder to yourself and the people around you.”

“All of the players will sit in here and say the exact same thing, it’s just not that easy to do when you’re out there competing.”

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