Andy Murray, a former world number one, on Monday crashed out of the Australian Open in a first round encounter.
The Briton lost 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 in a five-set thriller to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, in a match that lasted four hours and nine minutes.
Murray produced a super fight back in what might have been his final match, but was not enough to see him through to the next round.
The 31-year-old struggled early in the match. However, the crowd at the Melbourne Arena cheered him on to win the third and fourth sets.
“If this was my last match, it was an amazing way to end,” he said after the match.
“I gave everything I had – it wasn’t enough tonight.”
Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion, said on Friday that he would retire this year because of a chronic hip problem, though he also stressed that he could play at this year’s Wimbledon.
However, he suggested in his on-court interview, that there was still a chance he could return to Melbourne.
“Maybe I’ll see you again. I’ll do everything possible to try,” an emotional Murray added.
“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.”
Many expected the Scot to struggle against a player he had beaten in their three previous meetings. There were signs in the opening few games that the two-time Wimbledon champion could provide a tough contest.
By the eight game, Murray earned himself a break point, which he failed to convert. Bautista Agut went on to break his opponent in the next game before taking the set.
Murray was again broken in the fifth game of the second set as the Spaniard produced a smash winner.
The 28th seed then served out the set for a 2-0 lead before cruising to victory.