"Surely a drop off to be expected" - Andy Murray blames low viewership for 2023 Australian Open due to the absence of Federer, Barty and Kyrgios

Andy Murray has suggested that the absence of Roger Federer, Ashleigh Barty, and Nick Kyrgios was the reason for Channel 9 experiencing significantly lower TV ratings during the 2023 Australian Open as compared to last year.

The Australian TV network, which recently extended its deal with the first Grand Slam of the year for $500 million till 2030 just a few months ago, has seen a drop of around 40% in viewership in the just-concluded event.

Barty, who was last year's winner in Melbourne, retired from professional tennis soon after. Later, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer and 23-time Major winner Serena Williams also bid adieu to the sport in 2022. The tournament was further affected when former World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and last year's doubles champion Kyrgios withdrew due to injuries.

Murray took to social media to state that Australian Open viewership only took a hit in Australia and not all over the world. He shared a screenshot of an article that claimed a rise in the streaming audience for Discovery+, an American streaming service owned by Warner Bros. The article also showed Murray's thrilling five-set match against Thanasi Kokkinakis as the most viewed.

"Surely a drop off to be expected in Australia with no Federer, Barty or Kyrgios. Not sure that’s the case in every region though," Murray tweeted.

This year's women's final and the men’s doubles final saw a peak of just 1.437 million viewers, which was nowhere near last year's 4.261 million viewers.

Fifth seed Aryna Sabalenka defeated Elena Rybakina in the final to lift her maiden Grand Slam trophy. In the men's doubles final, Australia's Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler downed Poland's Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski.

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