By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Andy Murray v Roberto Bautista Agut [22]
  • Could end his career here instead of Wimbledon
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – After the shock announcement from Andy Murray about his impending retirement, he will take to the court in Melbourne for the last time in a tough start against Roberto Bautista Agut.

 

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Andy Murray v Roberto Bautista Agut [22] | H2H Murray leads 3-0

The shockwaves are still reverberating around the Melbourne sunshine after Andy Murray announced his retirement from tennis, due to the chronic pain in his hip that has not reacted as well to the surgery and the seemingly endless rehabilitation.

READ MORE | Tennis | Tearful Murray to call time on his career as he announces retirement this season

Tennis | Tearful Murray to call time on his career as he announces retirement this season

That he was intending to retire is not a surprise – many believed that daw was coming sooner, rather than later. However, a frustrating practice set and a half against Novak Djokovic proved how the mainstay of Murray’s game was affected by his hip.

Roberto Bautista Agut US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, USA

Photo by PETER FOLEY/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

That he has decided to take the court is a credit to him, and indeed a risk. It was against Roberto Bautista Agut that Murray came back to the court in Mubadala in a one set exhibition-within-an-exhibition match and he struggled then against the Spaniard’s particularly consistent style of play. The man is on form, lifting the Doha title en route to Melbourne.

What is particularly tough is that while Bautista Agut might not have specific weapons to draw upon, he is ruthless at taking advantage of ay opportunities that opponents present him. A fit Murray would be able to run him ragged, but he is especially vulnerable when pulled out wide, and we can expect to see the Spaniard exploit any flaws in Murray’s movement.

This will be an emotional match for all concerned, and every little wince, clutch and grimace will be echoed by all watching. The outpouring of emotion for Murray’s retirement shows what a high regard he was held in by players from both tours, and honestly he deserves to go out on his own terms.

However, the gruelling conditions on a hot Melbourne day with a player who will push him to the limit will not be that day, and we can only hope that this decision to play will not do more damaging harm that will prevent Murray from having his well-deserved day at Wimbledon to bow out of the sport.

Prediction: Bautista Agut in straight sets.

Murray & Bautista Agut are scheduled on Melbourne Arena, not before 6pm (7am GMT)

 

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