Andy Murray lost what was possibly his last match at the Australian Open against the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in five sensational sets in the first round. The former World No. 1 was knocked out at the Melbourne Park with 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(4), 6-2.
Murray headed into the fixture after speaking to the press on Friday about his ailing hip injury and his subsequent retirement plans. He stated that it could very well be his last season but he would like to continue playing till the Wimbledon. However, he was also quick to mention that the pain from his injury may force him to retire earlier.
Throughout the course of his match against Bautista Agut, Murray looked uncomfortable. It was pretty evident that he was battling an injury and he was not at the top of his game, at least for the first 90 minutes of the match.
In the first two sets alone, Murray committed 22 unforced errors, in contrast to the Spaniard’s 15. While he had more aces, Roberto got the break points at crucial moments in the game. More impressively, the reigning ATP Doha champion saved three break points to prevent the 2016 Wimbledon champion from taking an early lead.
In the third and fourth set, however, Murray found his rhythm by retaining his service throughout and taking the sets to a tiebreak.
With the Hisense Arena roaring for the Scotsman, he dug deeper and fought hard to win the tiebreaks by a very close margin. These were also the longest sets of the match as they lasted for a little over two hours in total.
By the time the match got to the last set, Murray was all out of fuel. He lost his service twice to give Bautista Agut an assailable lead and the match.
In the post-match interview, the former World No. 1 held back tears and hinted that he may return to Melbourne next season. He was cautious to not speak about his retirement, but he did mention that he may have another major operation to fully recover from his injury.
Speaking to the crowd, Murray said:
“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll see you again. I’ll do everything possible to try. If I want to go again I’ll need to have a big operation, which there is no guarantee I’ll be able to come back from. But I’ll give it my best shot.”
Murray is particularly determined to finish his career at the Wimbledon – a tournament where he has achieved a great deal of success. Considering his remarkable will to fight this evening, it is fair to say that the Scotsman is not going to go down without a fight. It is yet to be seen how he tackles the remainder of the season.