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Murray: ‘Definitely a possibility’ I’ve played my last Aussie Open match

Andy Murray says there is “definitely a possibility” he has played his final match at the Australian Open following his first-round defeat on Monday.

Murray suffered only his second opening-round defeat at the Australian Open in 16 years with the five-time finalist outplayed by 30th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry in a 6-4 6-2 6-2 humbling.

It’s a definite possibility that will be the last time I play here.

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Andy Murray at the Australian Open

A downcast Murray admitted in his press conference that he may well not be back at Melbourne Park.

“It’s a definite possibility that will be the last time I play here,” he said. “I think probably because of how the match went and everything.

“While you’re playing the match, you’re obviously trying to control your emotions, focus on the points and everything. When you’re one point away from the end, you’re like, ‘I can’t believe this is over so quickly, and like this’.

“In comparison to the matches that I played here last year, it’s the complete opposite feeling walking off the court. I wish I involved the crowd more. Just disappointed with the way I played and all of that stuff. (It’s a) tough, tough way to finish.”

His only other defeat in the first round here since 2008 came five years ago in an emotional five-setter against Roberto Bautista Agut after Murray had revealed the extent of his hip problems.

Andy Murray of Britain reacts during his first round match against Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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The Scot was downcast during his press-conference after his first-round defeat

A tribute video from his fellow players and global attention accompanied that occasion, with Murray’s career thought to be winding to a close.

Hip surgery has given him a commendable post-script, but it would be no surprise if this much more low-key exit does signal the 36-year-old’s final departure from Melbourne.

Murray admitted at the end of last season that he was not enjoying tennis, and it is increasingly hard to see him finding the sort of performances and results that will bring the joy back.

“It was a poor performance. It was, like, very, very flat. It was an amazing crowd out there that were trying to pick me up, support and get behind me. Usually I would always engage the crowd and get them going and bring some energy into the match. It was really just a flat performance,” Murray continued.

“I don’t know exactly why that was the case because I’ve been feeling good going in. Played pretty well in Brisbane. Practiced really well the last ten days or so.

“Bizarre feeling on the court today.”

Britain's Andy Murray waves as he walks off the court after losing against Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina during the 2024 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Will Murray/Getty Images)
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An emotional Murray walked off court after suffering a chastening defeat

Murray has said previously he has an idea of when he would like to retire, but he admitted that date could be brought forward.

He added: “I know that Tomas is a really, really good player. I’m aware of that. Even if I play well today, I can still lose the match. It’s just the nature of the performance that makes you question things.

“I haven’t gained in belief from today’s match that at some stage I’m going to start playing really well again or winning tournaments or getting to the latter stages of major events.

“Last year was a slightly different story. Physically I held up well against two really good players. It’s a very different situation sitting here. So the timeframe narrows a little bit for me to get to a level that I want to be at.

“I’ve spoken to my family about it. I’ve spoken to my team about it. They’re very aware of how I feel about things, where I would like to finish playing, when that would be.

“I haven’t made any definite decisions on that. It’s obviously something that I need to think about and see exactly when that is.”

Flattest performance from Murray at a Grand Slam?

Sky Sports’ Raz Mirza:

It’s hard to pick out many performances where Andy Murray has failed to show up and produce his best tennis when he needed it most.

The 36-year-old has struggled to reach the latter stages of majors in recent years but dragged himself into the third round at Melbourne Park in 2023 with back-to-back five-sets wins in remarkable, swashbuckling fashion.

His second-round comeback victory over Thanasi Kokkinakis will live long in the memory.

Andy Murray of Britain reacts during his first round match against Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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Was this Murray’s flattest Grand Slam performance?

After his latest defeat, however, Murray said there was “a definite possibility” that it would be the last time he plays on the blue courts of Melbourne.

Has the magic gone? He was sluggish and his movement was not what we’re used to seeing. This is most likely to be his farewell year but he may want to look to change his coaching set-up with Mark Hilton and Jonny O’Mara currently working alongside him.

The Scot needs motivation and a spark to reignite his season – albeit we’re only at the start of it – but if he suffers another chastening experience like this, he may even call it a day before the grass-court campaign begins and nobody wants to see that.

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