Andy Murray receives standing ovation during Australian Open defeat to Bautista Agut

TENNIS-AUS-OPEN

Andy Murray received an emotional standing ovation in what could very well have been the last time we saw the former world number one serve.

The Brit suffered a first round exit at the Australian Open on Monday as he went down 4-6 4-6 7-6 7-6 2-6 to No.22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut at the Melbourne Arena.

Last week, the 31-year-old announced that he intended to retire from the sport sooner rather than later due to injuries, with the Australian Open being potentially his last professional tournament in what has been a herculean journey from Dumblane to the summit of the game. 

Murray, who finished runner up in Melbourne, but never won the title, may announce his retirement from the sport after a prolonged battle with a hip problem which the former number one revealed is causing severe pain that is almost unbearable to play with.

So with the match approaching the four-hour mark, Bautista Agut secured successive breaks in the deciding set, to take a commanding 1-5 lead.

As Murray stood to serve, he received a standing ovation and the emotional 31-year-old took a minute to digest what could have been his final game. He then saved a match point before holding serve with an ace.

Just take a look at the remarkable scenes below:

Unfortunately, with a mountain to climb, there would be no way back for Murray as Batista Agut won the next four points and sealed the win. 

"I've loved playing here over the years," Murray said. "If that was my last match it's an amazing way to end. I gave everything I had, it wasn't good enough tonight so congratulations to Roberto.

"Maybe I'll see you again. I'll do everything possible to try. If I want to go again I would need to have to have a big operation, which there are no guarantees I will be able to come back from anyway. But I'll give it my best shot."

Although this was Murray's first exit from a first round of a major since the 2008 Australian Open, it was the first time he had played for over four hours since the semi-finals of the French Open in 2017.

2019 Australian Open - Day 1

Andy Murray, who is arguably one of Britain's greatest sportsmen is a sports revolutionary.

His claim in history was to be Britain’s first Wimbledon men’s singles champion for over 70 years, a feat he achieved in 2013 and 2016. He also won two Olympic golds and is the only person to have been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year three times.

He was also the first British tennis player to be knighted.

Hopefully we do see Andy Murray back in action at Wimbledon later this year, in what could be a fairytale end to a gracious career.  

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