Andy Murray will decide in the next week whether to have a second hip operation, but said he would be content if his dramatic five-set defeat to Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open turned out to be his final professional match.
Murray, who announced on Friday that he is planning to retire from the game this year, threatened an amazing outcome in Melbourne, but was ultimately beaten 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-7 (4) 6-2 by the Spanish 22nd seed.
Murray’s hopes were not high given the state of his right hip, but this was a remarkable performance for a man who admits he struggles to put on his shoes and socks.
The tournament had prepared a montage of Murray’s fellow players paying tribute to him, but that struck an awkward note after the 31-year-old said he would do everything he could to try to play at the Australian Open again.
If he is to do so Murray must have a resurfacing operation, which could end up giving him another chance on court, but could also finish his career for good. If he decides not to have the operation yet then he will aim to play on the grass, finishing off his career at Wimbledon.
He said: “I’ll probably decide in the next week or so. If I go ahead with the operation, I don’t recover well from it, then I don’t play again. I’m aware of that.
But, if today was my last match, it was a brilliant way to finish. That’s something that I’ll probably take into consideration.Andy Murray
“It will improve my quality of life, I’ll be in less pain doing just normal things like walking around and putting my shoes and socks on.
“Just now going to walk my dogs, playing football with my friends is like the worst thing I can think of doing. Waiting another five or six months to do something like that is just another period where I’m really uncomfortable.
“I just don’t really know yet. But, if this was my last match it was a brilliant way to finish. That’s something that I’ll probably take into consideration.
“It was an amazing atmosphere. I literally gave everything that I had on the court, fought as best as I could, and performed a lot better than what I should have done with the amount I’ve been able to practise.
“I’d be okay with that being my last match.”