Andy Murray struggled, but eventually suffered an unexpected first-round exit on what might be his final appearance at the world-renowned Australian Open after his defeat at the hands of Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday in Melbourne.
Andy Murray, the three-time Grand Slam winner, who recently announced his plans to retire from tennis this season due to an 18-month battle with his hip, was struggling during his match against Bautista Agut but managed to rally and save the match by claiming tiebreaks in both the third and fourth sets.
When the match approached the 4-hour mark, Bautista Agut managed to secure consecutive breaks in the decider to claim a dominant 5-1 lead. Andy Murray enjoyed a standing ovation when he came out to serve which was possibly the last time in his career. He then managed to save a match point before holding an ace. However, there was no way back for the three-time Grand Slam winner this time, as Agut claimed the next 4 points to enjoy a phenomenal victory.
Chatting after the match on court, Murray didn’t state that he would be retiring which indicated that he might have another hip surgery to further prolong his tennis career.
“I’ve certainly loved playing in the Australian Open over the years,” Murray stated. “If this is indeed my last match, it’s an incredible way to end. I gave it my all but unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough this evening, so congratulations to Bautista Agut.
“Perhaps I’ll see him again. I’ll definitely do everything I can to try. If I want to continue playing, I will need to have a huge operation which doesn’t offer any guarantees that will allow me to come back. However, I’ll do my best.”
Andy Murray’s Final Match
Andy Murray, a finalist in the Australian Open for a total of five times, came under pressure during the fifth game. However, it took Bautista Agut nine games during the first set to finally break him. Murray couldn’t convert 2 breakpoint possibilities during the second set and looked like he was struggling. Even though he maintained competitiveness, Murray started hobbling between points as Agut managed to break again during the fifth game.
Murray managed to continue serving well, finishing the game with a total of 19 aces. However, he suffered even more pressure at 4-4 during the third. During the fourth set, Murray had to fight hard to hold his position, producing his best gameplay of the match. However, during the fifth set, you could see it was Murray’s final stand while the crowd stood up to honour his effort as he said goodbye to the world of tennis at the Australian Open.
Even though this is the first exit from Murray during the first round of a tennis major since the Australian Open in 2008, it was the very first time he managed to play for more than 4 hours since the French Open semi-finals in 2017.