A Long Day of Sport

I may not often venture much further than the football stadium to watch live sport, but I do consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of sport in general.  Well, it’s a fancy way of saying fair-weather fan but I’m sticking with it.

So today (yesterday for you readers) marks a particularly significant day of sport.  Kicking off is the Australian Open tennis final, where Scotland’s own Andy Murray goes up against Novak Djokovic for the chance to win his third Grand Slam title.  Later on we have the historic 400th Old Firm Derby, with Celtic and Rangers going head-to-head for the first time in 3 years.  Then late at night we have the spectacle of Superbowl XLIX (49) with the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots in America’s biggest and most favourite sporting occasion.

What this post will be is a chronicle my day of watching sport and the events that take place.  A cross between a sporting live blog and a sleep diary, I think it’ll be interesting to see how my attitudes towards the massive sporting events taking place changes across the day.

You can find each different event on it’s own separate page.

2015 Australian Open Final – Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic

8:10 am – Despite being perhaps my earliest Sunday morning since the last time I got up early to watch tennis, I’m up and ready to go.

Andy Murray takes on Novak Djokovic today in search of his third Grand Slam title in the Australian Open final.

Despite having a tough 2014, where coaching changes and injury combined to produce one of his worst seasons since his rise to the top of the game, Andy Murray has kicked off this year in great form.  He has lost only two sets on the way to the final, and with Djokovic having played an extra set and done so later on on Friday – he’ll have the edge when it comes to fatigue near the end of what is sure to be a long match this morning.

8:23am – While I’ve followed Murray many times before on his journey through Grand Slam, I must admit to being a general fair-weather fan when it comes to tennis.  I’ll keep tabs on the major tournaments but will only start watching matches when it’s clear that Murray is going to do well.  Of course I’ll watch a bit more of Wimbledon, but that’s part of my general theory of watching as many major sporting events as I can.

8:30am – Murray is probably still the underdog here, and is playing it up in the pre-match interview.  According to the man himself, he has only won once against Djokovic in his last eight matches and has failed to beat him in their three previous encounters in Melbourne.

8:32am – Players taking the court now.  Time for some predictions – Murray in 5 sets.  I think his form is in and that he’ll be able to hold on a bit more in the later sets, although Djokovic will push him all the way.

8:41am – Still warming up here.  Standard Grand Slam fare from the pundits, talking up Djokovic as the favourite but still predicting a long game with both players having their moments.  It’s going to be interesting at least.

8:43am – Game On – with Djokovic serving first

8:52am – Both players hold their first service games, although things were tougher for Murray as he was pushed to deuce.  Murray is playing aggressively but not all of his shots are quite coming off as of yet.

8:58am – Murray causes Djokovic some trouble with 2 break points to be had, but Djokovic manages to gain control of the game and win it.  Djokovic began to get into his rhythm with gaining the upper hand of the exchanges, and has come into the net a little more to play shots that Murray couldn’t cope with.

9:03am – Djokovic breaks the Murray serve.  Novak has proven too powerful from the baseline as well with Murray’s serves and takes the 4th game rather comfortably.  3-1 Djokovic.

9:12am – Both players hold their serve again, with Murray playing some great shots in the last point there.  Incidentally, Kim Sears is sporting a great look today to hit back after some of her offhand comments were captured during Friday’s match.  Well played indeed! https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B8vyqTsCIAAqjR6.jpg

9:20am – Murray breaks back, taking the third break point to put the game back on serve.  Djokovic doesn’t look as comfortable as he normally does, which is a testament to Murray’s form in the tournament and here again today.

9:27am – Djokovic breaks back though, despite Murray being 30-0 up.  This set is firmly within the Serb’s grasp now, even though both players have been mostly even – with some bad breaks for Murray coming from the net cord.

9:29am – Great point there with both players coming into the net at different times, but Murray plays the defensive lob shots much better and takes it.  Could be a key one if Murray goes on to break here.

9:31am – And he does!  Long rallies in that game but Murray manages to come out on top.  Djokovic has a small finger injury and is calling for the trainer.  Not exactly ideal given the potential this game has for going the distance.

9:36am – Comfortable hold there from Murray.  Djokovic making uncharacteristic mistakes and Murray keeping his cool.  A role reversal of sorts from the usual way this contest goes.

9:44am – The first set goes to a tie-break, and Djokovic kicks it off with a double-fault.

9:55am Djokovic wins the first set 7-5 in the tie-break.

Murray goes from 4-2 up to losing the tie-break, with a range of unforced errors, including a double-fault of his own.  An epic set, but those little mistakes have proved crucial.

10:04am – Murray gets out quick in the second set though, breaking Djokovic and taking a 2-0 lead.  Djokovic has a fall and seems to be struggling with his ankle, adding to the injury to his thumb earlier in the game.  These little niggles might be accounting for the Serb’s rather uncharacteristic lack of focus.

10:10am – Djokovic breaks back with Murray now the one making mistakes.  Things are very topsy-turvy so far in this match for sure!  Some great tennis rallies here and there, but many of the games have been characterised by mistakes.

10:15am – Almost constant apology for the language of the players here on the BBC coverage.  Surely no-one’s expecting it to be family-friendly are they?

10:20am – Djokovic holds and then breaks again to go 3-2 up.  He has found his composure in this game while Murray has started to waver a little, with shots into the net and wide.  The underdog has been put back in his place for now it seems, the set has turned on its head within the space of ten minutes.  Hopefully Murray’s signature dip in these big games is over soon.

10:28am – Both players hold serve again, and that is important for Murray to steady the ship a little.

10:31am – Someone’s ran on to court I think, but the security teams step in quickly and protect the players that were in their chairs by the side of the court.  Strange to see this sort of thing at a tennis match, would never happen at Wimbledon!

10:34am – Told the disturbance was actually people unfurling a flag.  Didn’t really see it in checking Twitter in between games.

10:38am – Murray breaks back to make it 4-4 after a great game where he made some great reflex shots.  His new tactic of being more aggressive and taking the game to Djokovic is paying off.  We’re back on serve.

10:47am – Commentators now beginning to fawn over the rallies in the game.  Murray having the better of them so far with some deft shots taking Djokovic’s serve to deuce.  Murray can win the set here.

10:52am – After saving set point and failing at two game points, Djokovic holds his serve in the end to make it 5-5.  Some really good tennis on show, with both players hitting incredible shots under pressure – especially when coming towards the net and being forced into it.

11:02am – Murray’s turn to dig deep now as he saves two break points, once with an ace, to take the lead again 6-5.  These are the games that make Grand Slam finals the special occasions they are.

11:06am – Into another tie-break we go as Djokovic holds.  Murray takes the lead with an ace but Djokovic tries to claim a let, but umpire holds the point up.

11:10am – Murray changes ends 4-2 up.  Some good points and good defensive tennis from him although Djokovic is still pushing.

11:15amMurray takes the second set 7-4!  Great tennis from Murray and the game really comes to life now.  Two and a half hours in and both players still need to win two sets more if they want to win.  Incredible stuff!

11:21am – Murray once again kicks-off the set with a break, aggravating Djokovic’s injury with some tricky baseline shots and putting enough doubt in his mind to win the game.

11:32am – After two comfortable holds though Djokovic breaks Murray again, showing no signs of any injury.  It’s such an unpredictable game.

11:45am – Two more holds but Murray misses out on a break point against Djokovic there as he is outgunned by a short slice over the net making him almost run into the ballboy as he tries to save it.  Djokovic 4-3 up and with serve.

11:51am – Murray double-faults to lose another break to Djokovic, who raced to 40-0 up.  Signs of frustration getting to Murray now.

11:54am Djokovic wins the third set 6-3 and goes 2 sets-1 up in the match. From a point where Murray could have broken for the second time to take real control of the third set, Djokovic has come back.  Lots of errors from Murray in the last few games have cost him dearly.  A less epic set for sure.

12:00pm – Djokovic breaks Murray in the 1st game of the 4th set as exhaustion really sets in for the Scot.  Two shots hit into the set from very easy positions show that things are falling away.  If he’s got any chance of coming back into this match he has to push Djokovic now.

12:05pm – A good hold from Djokovic there despite a comeback of sorts from Murray.  A lovely little exchange at the net with badminton-esque drop shots.  This game hasn’t had lots of interesting rallies like that one so far.

12:08pm – Another break from Djokovic and it seems as though it’s time to get the engraver ready.  Murray’s looking exhausted and starting to show the old signs of his frustration that self-perpetuates.

12:15pm – Djokovic holds and although Murray is still fighting he is out on his feet.

12:18pm – Djokovic breaks Murray again to go 5-0 up, Murray’s confidence and ability has collapsed since the middle of the third set and now it’s almost over.  A sad end to the game, but Djokovic has managed to keep going despite his injury troubles.

12:22pm Djokovic wins the Australian Open 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-0.  A tremendous display from Djokovic at the end there as he powers through an increasingly exhausted Murray to take another Australian Open title.

12:28pm – Time for a break now.  For the 4th time Andy Murray falls at the final hurdle, but still a tremendous credit to Scottish sport.  Hopefully the next big event of the day is just as much as of a credit.  It’s Celtic v Rangers in the Scottish League Cup Semi-Final.

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