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Former world number one Murray is now ranked 44th

By Jonathan Jurejko
BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

Australian Open 2024

Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-28 January

Coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 GMT on Tennis Breakfast on Radio 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sounds, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the BBC Sport website and app

Andy Murray made a rare exit in the Australian Open first round after a subdued display against Argentine 30th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

The 36-year-old Briton showed little emotion as he lost 6-4 6-2 6-2 on the second day of the Melbourne tournament.

Murray, a five-time finalist, failed to reach the second round for only the second time in his past 13 appearances.

After conceding 2024 could be his final season before retirement, the Scot has lost both of his matches this year.

Murray told BBC Sport in Brisbane he would think about ending his stellar career if he did not enjoy playing this year, having struggled for form in the closing stages of the 2023 season.

Since the start of the US Open in September, Murray has lost eight of his past 12 matches – including the past four.

Murray is the second Briton to fall in the singles at Melbourne Park, following Jodie Burrage’s defeat on Sunday.

Five more of the nation’s players – Emma Raducanu, Katie Boulter, Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans and Jack Draper – play their opening matches on Tuesday.

Did Murray wave goodbye to Melbourne?

Known for his long and gruelling encounters last season, Murray said he wanted to avoid another marathon match against Etcheverry.

Unfortunately for the British number four, it was a quick match for the wrong reasons.

Both of the two previous meetings between the pair – three-set matches which they split on the ATP Tour last season – lasted more than three hours.

This five-set match finished much quicker as the Scot toiled in a worryingly below-par performance.

Murray had his serve broken six times, including twice when he lost the final five games, and did not threaten Etcheverry’s serve after the second game of the match.

Having shown little expression throughout, Murray appeared emotional as he waved farewell to all sides of the Kia Arena on his way back to the locker room.

Five years ago, the Australian Open played a video montage in tribute to Murray when they thought it would be his last appearance because of an impending hip surgery.

It turned out to be very premature. But if there are many more performances like that this season then Murray, by his own admission, may not be back here next year.

More to follow.

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