Reem's Dubai diary: Murray on tiebreak, Verdasco frustrated

Reporting from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Sport360's tennis expert Reem Abulleil rounds up the more light-hearted moments on a busy day in the city.

Reem Abulleil
by Reem Abulleil
3rd March 2017

article:3rd March 2017

You never expect tennis players to be good at math, especially when they’ve just stepped off the court following a stressful three-hour battle, but there is some basic arithmetic you’d think they would be able to handle.

After saving seven match points against Philipp Kohlschreiber to enter the Dubai semi-finals, Andy Murray was discussing the 31-minute tiebreak he fought through during that epic showdown.

“What was the score? 20-18? So that’s – yeah, 36 points. Yeah, I mean… yeah, obviously a long, long tiebreak,” Murray said smiling.

“And, yeah, I’ll probably never play another one like that again. I mean, I have been playing on the tour for 11, 12 years now, and nothing’s been close to that.”

We know that was a brutal match to get through, Andy, but still: 20+18=36? Really?

It wasn’t just Murray who got his numbers wrong that night. Chair umpire Renaud Lichtenstein lost track of points during the tiebreak and forget to ask the players to switch sides at 15-15, and instead they swapped at 16-16. Players should change ends every six points in a tiebreak but that Murray-Kohlschreiber breaker went so long that Lichtenstein got confused.

“I realized at 16-All. I thought we shouldn’t – yeah, we shouldn’t be changing ends at that time, and the umpire said that he forgot, and also his machine didn’t recognise it. I mean, I don’t know if the machines are made to go that high, because it doesn’t happen very often,” was Murray’s explanation.

Not again!

Meanwhile, Fernando Verdasco shared his frustration about always fielding questions about his Spanish compatriot Rafael Nadal.

Verdasco, a former world No7 who is now down at No35 in the world, naturally takes a backseat to the 14-time grand slam winning Nadal at home in Spain and was understandably irked when he was asked about Rafa’s impending split with his uncle and coach Toni Nadal.

“They already asked me this question, and, yeah, at the end, they are always asking me about Nadal. And I really love him, but it’s really tiring. I know that it’s Nadal, but whatever decisions they have to make, it’s their decision. Maybe it’s the best for them,” said Verdasco.