Federer opens Australian title defence as Murray hobbles into action

Ross Houston
January 14, 2019

Eastbourne's Johanna Konta led the tributes to a role model who "stood up for women's tennis and women in general" after Andy Murray announced his intention to retire. I want to do it as long as I can and give myself the best possibilities to fight for the things really I am passionate about, and to keep doing the things that I really enjoy doing.

"The serve was always a thing that I tried to improve, and I think I did. I don't think it is impossible, but it will be very hard". Getting through the first round will be a major achievement in 2019 for the former No. 1-ranked Murray, who has slumped to No. 230 after playing just 12 matches a year ago following surgery on his right hip in January. While his mind and most of his body are still more than willing, his right hip leaves him severely compromised. "That won't happen now".

Seeking a 21st Grand Slam title and a record seventh in Melbourne, the Swiss will plough into his 20th consecutive Australian Open on Monday with a first round clash against Uzbek Denis Istomin.

The men's draw has Roger Federer looking to defend his crown although he comes in as third seed with world number one Djokovic holding the top seeding. I'm not happy about that. "We'll see how it's going to be here in Melbourne".

Second-ranked Angelique Kerber has already indicated her priority for 2019 will be the French Open, the only Slam to elude the 30-year-old German in her career.

"It was very obvious for everyone, you saw it, you didn't need to be on court, to notice that he's struggling, that he's not moving as well as he normally does", said Djokovic.

"We're trying to increase the number of players that are able to travel around the world, not just cover expenses, have the full team, have a decent living out of the sport that they play".

"But he has a management company, he represents athletes and we have seen him in the commentary box".

"I have covered six football World Cup finals and four Olympic Games but Andy's win over Djokovic that day is the most nerve-wracking occasion I can recall", he said. "Maybe also the way I play tennis, maybe it's smoother than the other guys", said Federer, renowned for his flowing movement around the court.

Murray's career is expected to be finished in a matter of months. "Keep fighting ... You deserve to retire on your own terms".

"Tennis will come to an end for us all but the friendships will last a lifetime", tweeted tennis player Grigor Dimitrov".

Murray is hopeful of making a run Down Under, a tournament which he has reached the final five times but has never won. It's going to be uncomfortable.

It was a contrast to the way he started the year in Melbourne, where a sorry last-16 exit at the hands of South Korea's Chung Hyeon was followed by elbow surgery and a string of early tournament exits.

It's no accident that I've written first British man to win Wimbledon since 1936.

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