Australian Open 2024 results: Andy Murray loses to Tomas Martin Etcheverryon January 15, 2024 at 9:57 am

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Andy Murray says there is a “definite possibility” he has played his final Australian Open after a subdued display against Tomas Martin Etcheverry in a first-round exit.

Andy Murray wipes his face at the 2024 Australian OpenImage source, Getty Images

Australian Open 2024

Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-28 January

Coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 GMT on Tennis Breakfast on Radio 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sounds, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the BBC Sport website and app

Andy Murray says there is a “definite possibility” he has played his final Australian Open after a subdued display against Tomas Martin Etcheverry in a first-round exit.

The 36-year-old Briton showed little emotion as he lost 6-4 6-2 6-2 on the second day of the Melbourne tournament.

Murray, a five-time finalist, failed to reach the second round for only the second time in his past 13 appearances.

“I won’t win many matches playing that way,” Murray said.

“It’s a definite possibility that will be the last time I play here.”

After conceding in pre-season that 2024 could be his final season before retirement, the Scot has lost both of his matches this year.

Murray told BBC Sport in Brisbane he would think about ending his stellar career if he did not enjoy playing this year, having struggled for form in the closing stages of the 2023 season.

Since the start of the US Open in August, Murray has lost eight of his past 12 matches – including the past four.

“Whilst you’re playing the match, you’re obviously trying to control your emotions, focus on the points and everything,” the former world number one said.

“When you’re one point away from the end, you’re like, ‘I can’t believe this is over so quickly, and like this’.

“I was disappointed with the way I played and all of that stuff. It was a tough, tough way to finish.”

Murray is the second Briton to fall in the singles at Melbourne Park, following Jodie Burrage’s defeat on Sunday.

Five more of the nation’s players – Emma Raducanu, Katie Boulter, Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans and Jack Draper – play their opening matches on Tuesday.

Did Murray wave goodbye to Melbourne?

Known for his long and gruelling encounters last season, Murray said he wanted to avoid another marathon match against Argentine 30th seed Etcheverry.

Unfortunately for the British number four, it was a quick match for the wrong reasons.

Both of the two previous meetings between the pair – three-set matches which they split on the ATP Tour last season – lasted more than three hours.

This five-set match finished much quicker as the Scot toiled in a worryingly below-par performance.

Murray had his serve broken six times, including twice when he lost the final five games, and did not threaten Etcheverry’s serve after the second game of the match.

Having shown little expression throughout, Murray appeared emotional as he waved farewell to all sides of the Kia Arena on his way back to the locker room.

Five years ago, the Australian Open played a video montage in tribute to Murray when they thought it would be his last appearance because of an impending hip surgery.

It turned out to be very premature. But if there are many more performances like that this season then Murray will not be back here next year.

“I have an idea of when I would probably like to finish playing. So much of that depends on how you’re playing,” Murray, a three-time major champion, said.

“The timeframe for that narrows when you play and have results like today.

“I know that Tomas is a really, really good player. I’m aware of that. Even if I play well today, I can still lose the match.

“It’s just the nature of the performance that makes you question things.”

Barely a flicker of emotion in below-par performance

Speaking last week in Melbourne, Murray discussed how he was trying to show less frustration on court when he was not playing as well as he would expect.

There was plenty of emotion during his matches last season – chuntering at his box, screaming at himself and threatening to smash racquets in the difficult moments.

But in his defeat against Etcheverry on Monday, there was barely a flicker of emotion as the match ran away from him.

One of the things that left Murray particularly frustrated last year was the struggles with his service game.

He was working hard to improve in that area during pre-season, but Murray landed just 46% of his first serves, and won just 33% of points behind his second, in a costly first set against Etcheverry.

Etcheverry, known for his supreme fitness and solidity from the baseline, coped with everything Murray could throw at him.

Even when the former world number one tried to mix things up by bringing him forward, he kept his composure and responded with delicate touches.

A double fault and two poor baseline returns from Murray gifted more break points in the third game of the second set, but even saving the third opportunity with a delicious drop-shot was not enough.

Murray succumbed to the fourth and the sight of his shoulders slumping as he walked back to his chair demonstrated the scale of the task facing him.

The unforced errors continued to tot up from Murray and it helped Etcheverry, still playing at a high level, cruise to only his second win at Melbourne Park.

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