Andy Murray suffered a 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4), 2-6 defeat to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round to bow out of the Australian Open 2019 in Melbourne on Monday. The 31-year-old Scot, who has won won two Wimbledon titles, appeared to be struggling since the beginning of the exciting clash. On Friday, Andy Murray had announced his retirement plans due to a chronic hip injury. In the Rod Laver Arena, Swiss tennis star Roger Federer registered a straight-set victory against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. In women’s singles, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki’s started her campaign with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win over Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium.
“Amazing. That was incredible, thank you so so much to everyone that came out tonight,” Murray said after being swept along on a wave of vociferous support.
“Honestly I’ve loved playing here over the years. If this was my last match, an amazing way to end. I gave everything I had and it wasn’t enough tonight.”
Murray announced at an emotional press conference on Friday that he would retire at Wimbledon this year, but conceded the Australian Open could be his last tournament, so great have been his injury problems.
But he seemed to have a change of heart after a match in which he showed his fighting spirit had not been diminished.
“Maybe I’ll see you again,” he said.
“I’ll do everything possible to try. If I want to go again I’ll need to have a big operation which there’s no guarantees I’ll come back from. But I’ll give it my best shot.”
Murray had entered the packed Melbourne Arena to a huge ovation as Scottish Saltires and British Union flags were flown while one banner proclaimed: “There will only ever be one Andy Murray”.
The outpouring of support seemed to lift him and despite grimacing with pain after some rallies he was nevertheless moving relatively freely as the Spaniard took the opening set in 50 minutes.
The in-form Bautista Agut had beaten world number one Novak Djokovic on his way to winning the Qatar Open at the start of the month and he broke again for 4-2 in the second as a hampered Murray began to struggle.
(With AFP inputs)