Australian Open 2019: When will Andy Murray play his first (and possibly last ever) match?

Telegraph Sport
The Telegraph
Andy Murray has announced that he intends to retire in 2019 and that he is in so much pain that he might not be able to play on beyond the Australian Open - Getty Images AsiaPac
Andy Murray has announced that he intends to retire in 2019 and that he is in so much pain that he might not be able to play on beyond the Australian Open - Getty Images AsiaPac

What is it?

It is a first round match in the men's singles of the 2019 Australian Open in which Andy Murray, double Wimbledon winner, former US Open champion, double Olympic gold medal winner and five times a runner-up at Melbourne takes on Spain's No22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

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On Friday the unseeded Murray was asked whether after 18 months of injury trouble and gruelling recovery from hip surgery whether this could be his last tournament, he said: Yeah, I think there’s a chance of that for sure. Because I am not sure I am going to be able to play through the pain for the next four or five months."

When is it?

Monday, January 14 in Melbourne. 

What time does it start?

The order of play will not be finalised until the day before so we cannot be sure. Play commences at 11am local time on Monday - Melbourne is 11 hours ahead of GMT so the first match will begin at midnight UK time which will feel like Sunday night but is actually Monday morning. The evening session starts at 7pm local time or 8am UK time on the Rod Laver and Margaret Court Arenas.

Murray should be on one of those two show courts but could start his match at any time between midnight and 11am on Monday. We will have a better approximation on Sunday.  

What TV channel is it on?

It's on Eurosport in the UK and can be streamed on the Eurosport Player. We will also be blogging it right here on Telegraph Sport. Just check back on this page on Monday. 

What's the head to head?

Murray has won all three of their previous meetings in straight sets - in the Round of 32 at Wimbledon in 2014, in the semi-final at Munich a year later and in the final of the 2016 Shanghai Masters.  

What are they saying?

Andy Murray focused on his injury and impending retirement but confirmed he would play:

In the middle to the end of December in my training block, I spoke to my team, and I told them, ‘I cannot keep doing this.’ I needed to have an end point because I was playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop. I felt like making that decision. I said to my team, ‘Look, I think I can get through this until Wimbledon. That’s where I would like to stop playing.’ But I am not certain I am able to do that.”

Yes, I am going to play. I can still play to a level, but not a level I am happy playing at. 

 

Bautista Agut has not spoken specifically about the draw but said after winning last week's Qatar Open:  "It's been a fantastic week for me. Today it was not easy to manage all the emotions I had on court."

"Why can I not be close to the top 10? he said and said his aim was to turn up at Melbourne "fresh" and win as many matches as he can. 

What are the odds?

Murray 7/2

Bautista Agut 1/5

What's our prediction?

Looks like the end of the road for the great Scot, beaten by time and his agonising hip injury ... and by his opponent on Monday. 

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