Five-time champion Andy Murray said on Monday there was a “possibility” he played in his final Australian Open after falling at the first hurdle.
The 36-year-old put up strong resistance in the 61st minute of the first set against Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry, but the 30th seed slowly crushed him to win 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Murray had a disappointing end to 2023, winning just one of his last four tournaments, and previously said that unless his form picked up, the curtain could fall on his career.
“Yes, this will probably be the last time I play here,” he said. “Compared to the games I played here last year, it was very different when I left the game. I feel bad about the way I play. It’s a tough, tough road to stop.”
The British player, who won Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016 and also won the US Open in 2012, is part of a golden generation that is nearing the end of a career with trophies. Roger Federer retired in 2022 and Rafael Nadal suffered an injury in 2023 and withdrew from the Australian Open due to a torn hamstring.
At 36, Djokovic still hopes to add 24 Grand Slam titles to his record before hanging uphis racket. Murray said he has told his family and coaching staff when he will be retiring.
“They know exactly how I feel, where I want to end the game and when that will happen,” he said. “I haven’t made a final decision about it yet. Yes, it’s definitely something I need to think about and see exactly when it happens. “It’s not like it doesn’t hurt me.”
He added that retirement time “gets narrower when you play and get results like today.”
“Today’s game did not convince me that at some point I will start playing well again, win a tournament, or make it to the finals of a major event.”
Etcheverry, 12 years younger than his opponent, said Murray was one of his idols. “It’s hard for me to play with a legend like Andy,” he said. “I tried to play my game and focus on my core.”
Murray’s loss left fans with a third-round clash against defending champion Djokovic. To get a chance to face the top seed, Etcheverry, who reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros last year, will first have to defeat another fighter, the Frenchman Gael Monfils.