It’s hard to imagine the tennis match itself could be more emotional than the press conference that preceded it.
Last Friday, Andy Murray fronted the media, immediately broke down in tears, was forced to leave the room and gather himself before returning to admit he could no longer bear the pain of a chronic hip injury.
“I don't want to continue playing that way. I told (my team) that I can't keep doing this, that I needed to have, like, an end point,” he said. “I think I can get through this till Wimbledon. That's where I would like to stop, stop playing. But I'm also not certain I'm able to do that.”
That heart-wrenching press conference – which elicited a torrent of heart-felt messages from Murray’s fellow players and many fans – set the stage for his first-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday evening. This was likely going to be the last time people would see the former world No.1 and three-time Grand Slam champion at the Australian Open. There was not a seat available at Melbourne Arena, with almost 10,000 people standing to cheer as the Scot entered the stadium.
Murray played and fought for more than four hours before finally surrendering 6-4 6-4 6-7(5) 6-7(4) 6-2.