Simon worried about Murray

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 20, 2013
It was an epic battle of the wounded that only one Frenchman could survive. The victor, No. 14-seeded Gilles Simon, hobbled off the court well after midnight. He needed three or four hours of massage and other treatment - he doesn't quite remember. He finally crawled into bed at 5 a.m. Sunday. Beating Gael Monfils, a friend who is ranked 86th, made him neither happy nor sad, he said in a news conference held much later Sunday. Toward the end of the match, he said, his pain was so intense that he didn't feel like he was on a tennis court but in a dream. The final score was 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 1-6, 8-6. Some in the Twitter-sphere called it ''Les Miserables,'' although the nearly five-hour tennis match lasted considerably longer than the Hollywood or Broadway versions. France's sports daily, l'Equipe, described it Sunday as ''Dante-esque'' - an apt analogy because the next circle for Simon is the fourth round at the Australian Open where he faces a very well-rested and intensely motivated Andy Murray. The U.S. Open champion and No. 3-seeded Murray is on a mission to win his second consecutive Grand Slam title. Simon knows what to expect against Murray, the 25-year-old Scotsman. They have played 10 times before, and Murray has won 9 of them. Is he worried about the match? ''Yes,'' said Simon, without hesitation. After postponing his mandatory post-match news conference due to medical reasons, Simon spoke to reporters Sunday afternoon, still rubbing his sore right arm. ''It will be really, really difficult,'' said Simon, who had less than 48 hours to recover. ''For sure, he will have the advantage.'' His strategy against Murray is ''to go on court and to do the maximum to bother him and to give him a hard time.'' Simon showed in his match against Monfils that he is a fighter, although the playing field was leveled because his opponent was suffering, too. Both players winced in pain for much of the match, needing to call in trainers on several occasion to massage out cramps and other ailments. Simon said his cramps forced him to hit softer and serve slower in attempts to just get the ball over the net. This led to a many long rallies that at times looked more like a practice session with both players glued to the baseline. The longest rally of the match - and of the tournament so far - lasted for 71 shots and nearly 2 minutes. Videos of the rally, which came during the second set, were quickly uploaded to YouTube. Other players were riveted to the match and posted live social media commentary. One of them was No. 13-seeded Milos Raonic, who tuned in after winning his own third-round match despite feeling fever and aches. ''I don't want this match to end. And it keeps going!'' Raonic tweeted. The match endured for 348 points - only 4 points of which were won at net. The last set alone lasted 94 minutes. It finally ended when Simon gingerly hit a (slow) 125 kph - or 77 mph - serve and Monfils returned it with a backhand error into the doubles alley. Simon threw back his head and roared before walking to the net to embrace his friend. He then hobbled over to greet an on-court interviewer and said: ''I was almost dying after the end of the second set.'' ''I was in bad shape,'' Simon said at his news conference Sunday. Asked what ailed him, he laughed: ''It was everything.'' For the first time in his career, he said he felt like he was cramping everywhere. ''I don't even know where - I had a cramp here, a cramp here,'' he said pointing to his leg, then to his neck, before adding, ''It's not even possible to cramp here'' - in the neck. ''I felt I played the end of the match like in a dream, like I was not even on the court,'' he said. ''I was just hitting the ball, trying to run, trying to catch it, and not thinking anymore.'' After it was over, he said, ''I was too tired to be happy or upset.'' Simon is one of four Frenchman into the fourth round, matching the country's record at the Australian Open. In 27 previous Grand Slam appearances, he has only reached the quarterfinals once, at the 2009 French Open. A tight-jawed Monfils, who held a brief news conference just after 1 a.m., was decidedly upset. ''I am disappointed. I am annoyed,'' he was quoted as saying. ''Why? Because I lost. I have the right to be disappointed and annoyed.'' About his friend, Simon. ''He was a little stronger physically. Bravo to him,'' Monfils said Simon has had a rough ride so far, playing four-setters in the first round and second before his draining five-setter against Monfils. Murray has had a much easier time so far. ''I won in straight sets my first three matches.'' Murray said, explaining why he felt confident after his third-round win. ''I'm sitting here happy that I'm through to the fourth round having not having played my best tennis today,'' Murray said. ''Hopefully I'll improve for the next one.''
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

A-Rod is (inadvertently) hurting the Yankees

Report: CM Punk to have back surgery, UFC debut delayed

John Elway: 2015 Broncos could be best defense ever

Lakers and Cavs discussed Kobe-LeBron trade in 2007

Report: Hiring Scott Brooks could help Knicks land Durant

Report: Tyreke Evans to undergo surgery, miss rest of season


Sabathia on post-rehab health: The best I've felt in three years

Carmelo Anthony says he's putting his trust in Phil Jackson

Lynn Swann: Calvin Johnson not a Hall of Famer

NFL requiring background checks for combine participants

Rams owner buys massive 520,000-acre Texas ranch

Cam Newton explains why he did not dive on fumble

Bill Polian: Peyton Manning could 'immediately' be successful GM

Villanova Wildcats: The quietest No. 1 team ever

Craig Sager: From the brink of death to the NBA All-Star Game

Michael Oher slid backwards during play in Super Bowl 50

Magic interested in Blake Griffin trade?

Brandon Marshall on Newton’s presser: ‘You can’t do that’

Oscillation, thy name is Pablo Sandoval

Mat Latos could be the steal of free agency

WATCH: Blackhawks coach walks out of press conference

Greg McElroy: Cam Newton 'quit on his team'

Tennis umpires secretly banned over gambling issues

WATCH: Dancing Kentucky fan slides down rail, fails

Clemson LB has great response to NFL draft analyst's criticism

Tennis News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker