An emotional Andy Murray kicks off his Australian open marketing campaign in opposition to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut within the evening session at Melbourne Park on Monday in what might nicely be the ultimate match of the Scot’s glittering profession.
Hip surgical procedure a 12 months in the past has left the three-times Grand Slam champion in extreme ache and the 31-year-old stated final week that the 12 months’s first Grand Slam may very well be his final event.
Murray has by no means misplaced in three conferences with Bautista Agut and final beat the 22nd seed within the Shanghai Masters remaining in 2016, when the Scot was at his peak having simply received his second Wimbledon title and Olympic gold in Rio. Both gamers’ fortunes have modified since they final confronted one another over the online. Bautista Agut is coming off a formidable run in Doha, the place he beat Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych en path to profitable the title.
Murray, in distinction, is ranked 230th on the earth and was overwhelmed in straight units by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev on the Brisbane International warmup. The Scot stated his troublesome hip had stacked the percentages in opposition to him.
“I know most likely I’m going to lose in the first round,” added Murray, who has completed runner-up in Melbourne 5 instances however by no means received the title. “If it is my last match, I want to try and enjoy it.” An hour after Murray walks on to the Melbourne Arena, defending girls’s champion Caroline Wozniacki will take on unseeded Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck underneath the lights on Rod Laver Arena, the event’s most important showcourt. Wozniacki will likely be adopted by males’s champion Roger Federer, whose quest for a 3rd Australian Open title in a row begins with an eighth profession assembly with Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.
Federer, who has by no means misplaced to Istomin earlier than, will likely be grateful the match is within the night, permitting the Swiss veteran to keep away from the worst of the warmth on what guarantees to be a scorching day.
Temperatures are anticipated to soar to about 36-37 Celsius (96-99 Fahrenheit) in Melbourne on Monday, with excessive humidity set to make it the most well liked day of the week. Organisers have up to date the event’s excessive warmth coverage, and Tennis Australia’s new “Heat Stress Scale” is prone to be pressed into motion from the beginning.
First to really feel the warmth will likely be 2008 champion Maria Sharapova, who kicks issues off on Rod Laver in opposition to unseeded Briton Harriet Dart.
Second seed Rafa Nadal will battle the worst of the situations when he takes on Australian wild card and world quantity 238 James Duckworth within the second match on Rod Laver.
Nadal, who pulled out of the Brisbane International with a thigh pressure, has shrugged off considerations his battle-scarred physique could not be capable to deal with the pressure of two weeks of top-level tennis, however doubts stay. The Spaniard just lately had ankle surgical procedure and has twice misplaced to wild playing cards at a serious earlier than, first by the hands of James Blake within the 2005 U.S. Open after which to Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon in 2014.
Australian teen Alex de Minaur, who received his first profession title on the Sydney International on Saturday, is in motion in opposition to Portugal’s Pedro Sousa on Margaret Court Arena.
World quantity 15 Ashleigh Barty, who’s carrying dwelling hopes within the girls’s draw and was a shedding finalist in Sydney, faces Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum on Margaret Court within the first match of the night session.