Andy Murray remains optimistic he will play again after going down in a five-set epic in the Australian Open first round.
The two-time Olympic champion fought back from two sets down and defied agony in his hip to force a decider against Roberto Bautista Agut in Melbourne, but lost out in the fifth.
The three-time Grand Slam champion battled relentlessly for more than four hours before it finished 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2 to the Spaniard.
The 31-year-old admitted he will require further hip surgery in order to extend his career.
“Maybe I’ll see you again,” Murray said to the crowd. “I’ll do everything possible to try.
“If I want to go again, I’ll need to have a big operation, which there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to come back from anyway, but I’ll give it my best shot.”
Murray announced this will be his final season last week after struggling with a hip injury for several years, expressing his intention to retire after Wimbledon.
He grimaced increasingly throughout the match, struggling with the pain in his hip, as his opponent moved him around the court – well aware of his ailment.
Murray fought through the first two sets but a single break of serve in each was enough for the Spaniard.
It started to look bleak when Bautista Agut broke early in the third set, but Murray responded with his first break of the match to move back level.
He showed trademark resilience to hold his serve in the ninth game of the third, before battling through a tie-break, 7-5, to take it to a fourth set.
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