MELBOURNE — On the opening day of the Australian Open, Andy Murray showed the heart of a champion as he forced himself to ignore his pain long enough to play five sets before surrendering to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round.
Bautista Agut had never before captured a set off of Murray in three previous matches. But those times he played a different Murray, a player who hadn’t been enduring a serious hip injury for close to two years.
Initially, it seemed that Murray, uncomfortable and limping, would be ushered quickly to the exit by the Spaniard.
But while the 31-year-old has lost the physical prowess he once enjoyed, he still possesses the temerity and desire that goes with being a Grand Slam champion. So it took Bautista Agut more than four hours to prevail 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2. To the end, Murray fought, saving a match point on his own service game in the seventh game of the fifth set, thereby forcing the Spaniard to serve for the win.