MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — If this was it for Andy Murray, if this truly was it, he gave himself — and an appreciative, raucous crowd that included his mother and brother — quite a gutsy goodbye, the type of never-give-in performance he’s famous for.
What Murray could not quite do Monday at the Australian Open was finish off a stirring comeback and prolong what might just be the final tournament of his career.
Playing on a surgically repaired right hip so painful that pulling on socks is a chore, he summoned the strength and strokes to erase a big deficit and force a fifth set before eventually succumbing to 22nd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2, Murray’s first opening-round loss at a Grand Slam tournament in 11 years.
“If this was my last match … I gave literally everything I had,” Murray told a full house at Melbourne Arena, his voice shaking. “It wasn’t enough tonight.”
Murray, just 31, is a year removed from the operation, and he announced in the days leading up to the Australian Open that he will retire in 2019. The biggest looming question is whether he’ll be able to make it to July for Wimbledon, where he won two of his three major…