Tennis: Angry Murray is smash hit in Melbourne

MELBOURNE - Britain's Andy Murray picked apart racquet-smashing techniques after joining a grand tradition of bat-breakers at the Australian Open.

While the Wimbledon champion wasn't in the same league as legendary smasher Marcos Baghdatis, he was deliberate and deadly during his fourth-round match against French journeyman Stephane Robert.

After missing three match points against the 119th-ranked 'lucky loser', and being taken to a fourth set, Murray destroyed his racquet with a swift, single strike to the floor.

It seemed to ease his frustrations and the world number four raced through the fourth set to reach the quarter-finals. He later donated the shattered racquet to a grateful fan.

"Sometimes it's necessary, you know," he smiled afterwards. "My racquet bit the dust. Unfortunate for it. But, yeah, I was glad I managed to start well in the fourth."

It was the most notable smash of a tournament which witnessed perhaps the ultimate such incident when Cyprus's Baghdatis broke four, one after another, in an epic meltdown in 2012.

Baghdatis was fined and one of the broken racquets was framed and put on display at the Melbourne offices of the Bank of Cyprus Australia.

Ernests Gulbis was another Melbourne smasher after he broke his racquet and left it mangled on the court in this year's first round win against Juan Monaco.

Murray said that while he knew he wanted to break his racquet, and Baghdatis and Gulbis clearly did, not everyone was so vindictive.

"A lot of guys sort of hold it by the throat and kind of throw it face-down. That's how you would throw it if you didn't want to break the racquet," he pondered.

"Whereas if you just kind of go flat with the frame, or if you just hit the frame like that, the racquet's gone straightaway."

Asked if he wanted his racquet to "die", Murray said: "It's not living, so I don't feel like I killed it. But it won't be getting used again."

He added: "It's not something as a player you're particularly proud of. But sometimes, you just need to get some frustration out. I wanted to do it at that moment. I took my warning and moved on."