Tennis has become as much about endurance as technique at the Australian Open. Those seeking the first major of the season have been asked to cope with marathon matches, soaring temperatures or games starting after midnight.

Anyone with mental baggage heads for the exit lounge, while others who have not prepared for the conditions have also been found out.

So, too, have the tournament organisers. They lost the plot in asking Johanna Konta and Garbine Muguruza to start their singles match at 12.30am.


All credit to the women who apparently put on a high class display before Muguruza closed out the third set decider at 3.12am in front of 250 spectators in a 10,000 capacity arena.

What a waste for those who love tennis. It might be okay for the unemployed or golden aged night owls who can tune in and out of the night-long televised action from their armchairs and refuel, rehydrate and nod off when the action slows. But for those who work or simply love tennis, late starts are unreasonable.

Players are more attuned about delayed matches which followed the four-set tiebreak slugfest between Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka or the even longer battle between Ivo Karlovic and Kei Nishikori.

But asking players, umpires and every other official to get their kit together and be at their sharpest for a start after midnight is daft. It's got an unsavoury whiff of officials ticking off daily quotas so there won't be a scheduling shambles later in the tournament.

There's every sense in playing more games at night or under cover to avoid the most intense conditions or rain which can provide additional entertainment in Australia's sporting capital. But there should be a midnight cut-off start time, with matches moved to an earlier start the next day.

Another topic in the "you can't be serious" file was the coverage of Andy Murray and his first-round scrap with Roberto Bautista Agut.

Either Murray has had a charisma bypass or there has been widespread brainwashing that he is a beautiful man in and around the court and everyone should cut him some slack because he has a bung hip.

Good grief. The man brought new levels of sulkiness on court even in his grand slam successes and there has always been a dour and gloomy edge about his work. He's struggling with injury but so are many others who don't get the same sympathy levels.