The last time Andy Murray exited the Australian Open at the hands of Roberto Bautista Agut, there was speculation that the former World No. 1 had made his final appearance at Melbourne Park. Skip ahead four years to the Scot’s four-set defeat to the Spaniard Saturday and Murray’s immediate playing future looks brighter as a 35-year-old than it did when he was 31.

Although Murray understandably showed some fatigue against RBA after coming into the match following back-to-back five sets wins – including a five-hour, 45 minute epic against Thanasi Kokkinakis that finished after 4 a.m. Friday, the five-time Australian Open finalist appears to be in good physical condition for a man who has undergone back surgery, two hip surgeries and who has played 954 tour-level matches.

“You never know exactly when the end is going to be,” said Murray, who underwent a second hip surgery after the Australian Open in 2019. “I would like to go out playing tennis like this, where I’m competing with the best players in the world in the biggest events and doing myself justice.

“There were maybe times the last year or so where I didn’t really feel like I was playing well, and I didn’t enjoy the way that I was playing. Those sacrifices and that effort that I put in allowed me to get through those matches and play at a high level that I think was entertaining for the people watching.

[BREAK POINT]

“I felt good about the way that I was playing. It’s more enjoyable for me when I’m playing like that, when I’m coming into a major event and really believing that I can do some damage.”

A winner of two Wimbledon titles and the US Open in 2012, Murray said that he can make the second week of the majors.

“I can have a deeper run than the third round of a Slam, there’s no question about that,” he said. “Obviously draws can open up for you. I need to also help myself with that. If I was playing at this level last year, I probably wouldn’t be ranked 50, 60 in the world. It’s up to me to try and change that.”

Murray, who ends the Open at No. 62 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, recounted his recovery from the Kokkinakis match, the longest of his career. It was also the 11th time he had rallied from two sets down to win, a record among active players.

“I slept from 6 until 9 the morning I played the match with Kokkinakis, which obviously isn’t enough,” he said with understatement and a smile. “Then I had to come in here. I had about seven or eight blisters that I had to have drained and then he put this liquid in to dry it. I had to come in in the morning to give that time to settle.

“Then I went back to the hotel, slept for a few hours, and then hit for, like, 15 minutes yesterday. Yeah, just the ice baths, saw my physio.

“My feet didn’t feel great. My legs were actually okay. They weren’t too bad. But I was struggling with my lower back. That was affecting my serve. That was really the main thing that I was struggling with today.”

Murray’s next event will be the ATP 500 ABN AMRO Open in Rotterdam, beginning 13 February.

Generated by Feedzy