Australian Open: Andy Murray loses in five sets in what could be his final Grand Slam match

Just a few days after announcing that hip pain may force him to retire before Wimbeldeon in July, former world No. 1 Andy Murray played and lost what could be his final Grand Slam match.

Murray played Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut (ranked 23rd) in round one of the Australian Open on Monday, and after being down two sets to none, he roared back and won the next two sets. He and Bautista Agut battled in the final set before Bautista Agut prevailed. Murray lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (4-7), 6-2.

It’s possible that Murray’s exit from the Australian Open is also his exit from Grand Slam tennis. On Thursday, Murray announced at an emotional press conference that his surgically repaired right hip is so damaged that his surgeon advised him to stop playing tennis. He said that he hopes to make it to Wimbledon, which is where he’d like to officially retire, but he’s not sure he’ll be able to play through another four or five months of pain.

After the match, Murray was interviewed on the court by Mark Petchey, one of the BBC’s tennis reporters and Murray’s first coach as a professional. He told Petchey “If this was my last match, it was an amazing way to end.”

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Scenes from the 2019 Australian Open
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Scenes from the 2019 Australian Open
Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic bites the net in frustration during her first round match against KazakhstanÅfs Yulia Putintseva at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Britain's Kyle Edmund serves to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Spain's Rafael Nadal serves to Australia's James Duckworth in their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic makes a backhand return to Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his first round match against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Britain's Andy Murray reacts during a press conference following his first round loss to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 10, 2019 - Japan's Naomi Osaka trains. REUTERS/Edgar Su TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24: A detail as sweat drips from the brow of Rafael Nadal of Spain in his Men's Singles Semi Final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during day 11 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26: Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates after winning championship point in her Women's Singles Final match against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during day 13 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 25: Samantha Stosur of Australia plays a forehand in her Women's Doubles Final match with Shuai Zhang of China against Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France during day 12 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays a backhand in her Women's Singles Final match against Naomi Osaka of Japan during day 13 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23: Milos Raonic of Canada serves in his quarter final match against Lucas Pouille of France during day 10 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23: Serena Williams of the United States looks on in her quarter final match against Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic during day 10 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 27: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning championship point in his Men's Singles Final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day 14 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Japan's Naomi Osaka holds her trophy after defeating Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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“If” is the big word there. Murray went on: “Maybe I’ll see you again. I’ll do everything possible to try. If I want to go again, I’ll need to have a big operation, which there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to come back from anyway, but I’ll give it my best shot.”

Murray left the door open to a possible return later this year, or perhaps even farther in the future if he’s able to have surgery and completely recover. But as he said, if that five-set thriller is his last Grand Slam match, it’s a heckuva way to go out.

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