Grumbling Murray makes Aussie Open quarter finals
'Boring' opponent forced to retire as Murray sets up quarter-final clash with Nishikori
EVEN BY his own standards, Andy Murray's response to getting to the quarter finals of the Australian Open after his opponent Mikhail Kukushkin was forced to retire injured was an exercise in dourness.
The tennis circuit's very own Eeyore, asked to describe how he felt about his latest victory, answered: "It's just boring."
In fairness, he was making a good point about the match against a limping Kukushkin, who found it hard to make any points at all before he quit after slipping to a 6-1, 6-1, 1-0 deficit.
For Russian Kukushkin, ranked 92 in the world, getting to this fourth round meeting with Murray represented his best run in a Grand Slam competition. To reach it he recorded two bruising five set wins, against Viktor Troicki and Gael Monfils, and judging by his laboured movement around the court, they had taken their toll.
The Russian must have been desperately disappointed with his performance - a hip flexor injury not only stopped him responding to Murray's serve, his own was half strength at best.
Endearingly, Kukushkin hid his disappointment and seemed more concerned for the spectators. "For me it's so sad that this match was not entertainment," he said. "Probably it was not fun to watch, so I feel also bad for that. But unfortunately with that injury I was not able to do anything."
Murray appeared to have little sympathy for his opponent. Afterwards, according to The Daily Telegraph, he was more concerned about how his opponent's rum luck had affected him. "It would have been nice to have come off and been like, 'Ah, I played unbelievable and he stopped'. But I didn't have to do anything," grumbled the Scot, "I was just hitting the ball in the court and he wasn't running."
However much it may have irked the Murray, waltzing through to the quarters with such ease will be to his benefit. His next opponent, Japan's Kei Nishikori, won his place in Wednesday's match via a brutal three-and-a-half hour, five set encounter. There is no doubt who will go into their match in better physical shape.