Andy Murray’s Australian Open run ends – OlympicTalk

Melbourne, Australia – Andy Murray leveled his Australian Open match at one set apiece and stood in a corner of Margaret Court Arena with his hands on his hips, staring at the bleachers, where spectators were jumping and shouting, pumping their arms and were waving blue and white Scottish flags.

All of those fans, and Murray himself, could have been excused at the time for thinking, “Here we go again!”

Except there wouldn’t be a five-set thriller this time around for Murray and his many backers. No finish after midnight. No classic return. And no victory. No, the wear and tear from Murray’s previous two relentless and unyielding performances simply took too much of his 35-year-old body and metal hip, leaving him with more than half a dozen blisters and a low back. painful during a 6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4 loss against Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round Saturday night.

“You can’t always control the outcome. You can’t control how you play or the outcome. You can control the effort you put into it, and I gave it my all in the last three games. I’m very proud of that,” said Murray, a five-time Melbourne Park finalist and owner of three Grand Slam titles elsewhere. “But, yes, I’m also disappointed.”


That game ended a minute under 3 1/2 hours, which felt pretty short and sweet compared to Murray’s grueling trek that took over 10 1/2 hours earlier in the week: he beat the 13th seed Matteo Berretini in five sets in the first round on Tuesday, then eliminated Thanasi Kokkinakis in another five sets in the second round that started Thursday night and ended just after 4 a.m. Friday.

Murray then slept from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., showed up at the tournament site to have his blisters drained and returned to his hotel for a nap, before heading onto the field to strike for only 15 minutes approximately.

He got off to a slow start against Bautista Agut on Saturday, pushed hard to grab the second set and faded into the streak. At the end of the game, Murray was sent off.

“Today (there was) a lot of love for Andy,” said 24th seed Bautista Agut afterwards. “I think maybe in the next round a bit more for me.”

These two had played six times before, including Bautista Agut’s victory at the Australian Open in 2019, a year after Murray had his first of two hip surgeries – and days after tearfully acknowledging that he thought he was about to retire.

After that loss to Bautista Agut, a video tribute to Murray was shown in the stadium, and he himself said the words: “If today was my last game…”

Shortly after, Murray’s second surgery took place, this one to fit him with an artificial hip, and he eventually returned to touring.

Since then, he’s wondered aloud if the work it takes to be competitive is worth it. After Saturday’s loss, he was asked how moments like this week made him feel.

“I would love to play tennis like that, where I compete with the best players in the world in the biggest events and do myself justice. There were maybe times, last year or so, where I didn’t really feel like I was playing well and I didn’t like the way I was playing,” said Murray, whose Saturday exit leaves Novak Djokovic as the only major champion still on the men’s side.

At this Australian Open, however, he explained: “It’s more enjoyable for me when I play like that, when I come to a major event and really believe I can do some damage.”

OlympicTalk is enabled Apple News. Promote us!

Comments are closed.