Oz Open may be last for the ‘Big Four’

The Witness - - SPORT -

MEL­BOURNE­—­As­the­ten­nis­world­con­tin­ued­to­di­gest­the­prospect­of­AndyMur­ray’s­re­tire­ment,­an­ev­er­green­RogerFed­erer­pon­dered­the­“luck”­of­his­longevity­yes­ter­day­ahead­of­his­bid­for­ahat-trick­of­Aus­tralian­Open­ti­tles.

Mur­ray’s­ an­nounce­ment­ that­ Mel-bourne­ Park­ could­ be­ his­ last­ tour­na­ment­­has­made­37-year-old­Fed­erer’s­ca­reer­seem­all­the­more­mirac­u­lous.­Seek­ing­a­21st­Grand­Slam­ti­tle­and­a­record­sev­enth­ in­ Mel­bourne,­ the­ Swiss­ will­start­ his­ 20th­ con­sec­u­tive­ Aus­tralianOpen­to­mor­row­with­a­first­round­clasha­gainst­Uzbek­De­nis­Is­tomin.

While­know­ing­the­lim­its­of­his­bodyand­full­of­praise­for­his­team­for­beingable­to­patch­him­up­re­peat­edly,­Fed­er­erad­mit­ted­ for­tune­ had­ played­ a­ part­ in­his­longevity.­“If­you­look­at­how­un­luck­y­things­were­with­the­in­ci­dent­here­a­fewyears­ ago­ when­ I­ ran­ the­ bath,­ I­ guess­the­knee,­that­part­of­the­body­was­readyto­go.­Could­have­hap­pened­eas­ily­in­the­match­against­No­vak,­but­it­didn’t,­maybe­be­cause­I­was­warmed­up.­I­have­noidea­ what­ hap­pened.­ I­ think­ you­ al­soneed­a­lit­tle­bit­of­luck.”

The­31-year-old­Mur­ray­has­been­far­less­ for­tu­nate,­ with­ ma­jor­ hip­ surgery­driv­ing­the­Scot­to­dis­trac­tion­and­the­brink­ of­ re­tire­ment.­ The­ Aus­tralianOpen­ could­ there­fore­ be­ the­ last­ timethe­‘Big­Four’­play­to­gether­after­dom­i­nat­ing­the­Grand­Slams­for­the­best­partof­a­decade.­—­Reuters.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Swiss ten­nis master Roger Fed­erer will plough into his 20th con­sec­u­tive Aus­tralian Open to­day with a first-round clash against Uzbek player De­nis Is­tomin.

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