Andy Murray loses the possible game of goodbye to the Australian Open to Roberto Bautista Agut

"A Herculean Effort": Battling Murray comes out of the Australian Open
Australian Open 2019
Office: Melbourne Park At your place: January 14-27
Coverage: Live commentaries every day on the BBC Sport website, listen to the Tennis Breakfast every day from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 and watch the highlights of BBC TV and online from 19 January.

Andy Murray got a great recovery in what could have been his last game, but he eventually lost in five sets against Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open.

The Brit, who hopes to play Wimbledon, has fought brilliantly before losing 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (4-7) 6-2.

Murray, 31, struggled very early but roared the audience at the Melbourne Arena while he won the third and fourth sets.

"If this was my last game, it was a fantastic way to finish," he said.

"I gave everything I had – it was not enough tonight."

Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion, said Friday he will retire this year due to a chronic hip problem.

However, he suggested in his interview in the field that there was still the possibility that he could return to Melbourne.

"Maybe we'll see each other again, I'll do everything I can to try," said an emotional Murray after an epic game lasting four hours and nine minutes.

"If I want to go again, I will need a big operation, that there will be no guarantee of being able to return from anyway, but I will give my best shot."

Murray almost produces an incredible return

After Friday's press conference in Melbourne Park, when Murray broke down in tears, many expected the Scotsman to fight a player he had beaten in their three previous matches.

There were signs in the early games that the two-time Wimbledon champion could provide a difficult race. Initially positioned closer to the back of the field, Murray went further from the eighth game and earned a break point, which he failed to convert.

The Spaniard Bautista Agut continued to break his opponent in the next game before taking the set.

Watched by his brother Jamie and his mother Judy, Murray's grimaces were growing in number. He was again broken in the fifth game of the second set when Bautista Agut won a great success, and then he served the set 2-0. The 28th seed seemed to have run for a routine victory.

Murray, in general, had other ideas.

The second wind of Bautista Agut stuns adrenaline Murray

Those inside the arena must have believed they were about to attend one of Britain's greatest athletes playing his last tennis set at this tournament and, perhaps, his career.

After the Spaniard broke Murray to 15 in the third game of the third set, it seemed that the inevitable was imminent.

But the British's career was built on his obstinacy, resistance and refusal to yield. To use an analogy from one of his favorite sports, Murray beat the count and punched back breaking the next game with a superb backhand along the line.

Another extraordinary hit helped him save the break point in the eighth game and was close to taking the set in the ninth only to hit a straight into the net.

But the moans of many of the 10,000 spectators soon turned into euphoric cheers as Murray took the third set in a tie-break. The Scot screamed with joy and clenched his fist in a way that we have become accustomed to since he became a professional in 2005.

Bautista Agut was now playing against a rejuvenated Murray and a partisan crowd. Running on the adrenaline, the Scotsman also took the fourth set in a tie-break.

Murray was about to deliver one of his biggest and unexpected returns?

He was again in the lead during the first game of Bautista Agut's decision maker, which led to 0-30. But the Spaniard managed to get a second wind at the right time to hold before breaking Murray twice en route to seal the victory.

It remains to be seen if his 854th professional match was his last.


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