Exhausted, Andy Murray finally says goodbye, brave but by no means bent
It was no surprise that Bautista Agut, who was Murray’s rival when Australian Open officials, to his amazement, prematurely retired the Scot in 2019, looked the fresher player by far.
But among the reasons Murray is a champion is his heart and his court craft as well. Even if his movement was impaired, the former world No. 1 read the play like the maestro that he is.
He anticipated the Spaniard’s jab and save and stayed in the fight. Despite his aching body, a quality match unfolded.
After waddling onto the pitch, Murray could barely reach for his water bottle, let alone start his engine. And in the infancy of the game, only one gear was available. Slow.
He only gained a point in the first three games and the opening set passed while Murray barely moved.
His body squeaked, squeaked and stopped, but finally came into action midway through the second set.
The two-time Wimbledon champion grabbed a break of serve and then saved two set points to level the match in a thrilling tie-breaker. This earned him a standing ovation from the audience.
By the middle of the third it was clear that even if the fight hadn’t left the old dog, there would be no miracle.
It seemed like a rare moment between the points when he wasn’t awkwardly hunched over his hips, but he still forced the world No. 25 to work overtime to take the lead.
The fourth set was similarly close. Murray broke early, resigned and then gave up another break at 4-all, a game that went against the grain of the competition considering how easily it was lost.
As Bautista Agut secured victory, he yelled “Vamos” and shook his fist in glee. It was a quality performance. He had bid farewell to a proud champion who had the support of the crowd. He competed against Tommy Paul for a spot in the quarterfinals.
“There was a lot of love for Andy today I think. Maybe there’s a little bit more for me in the next round,” he said.
Murray, meanwhile, tidied around his chair, packed his bags neatly, and hobbled back from his seat, but not before waving a long goodbye to the crowd.
He has said repeatedly that he is determined to try and return to the top. His ball shot is as good as ever. The question is whether his body, aching and creaking as it is, will allow it.
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https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/exhausted-murray-finally-takes-his-leave-brave-but-far-from-bowed-20230121-p5cehw.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Exhausted, Andy Murray finally says goodbye, brave but by no means bent