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Agut heaps praise on ‘leg­end’ Mur­ray but in­sists he’ll go all-out to win an emo­tional game NO FEAR FOR CHIEFS AS NOW­ELL RE­TURNS

Sunday Mirror - - TRAVEL - BY NEIL McLEMAN in Mel­bourne

ROBERTO BAUTISTA AGUT says he will show no mercy to Andy Mur­ray – even if their first-round clash at the Australian Open is the Scot’s emo­tional farewell to the game.

The for­mer world No. 1 is hugely pop­u­lar Down Un­der af­ter reach­ing the fi­nal here five times – but los­ing each time.

Bautista Agut is ex­pect­ing heavy sup­port for Mur­ray but said: “I’m used to it, I have played Davis Cup matches and many sit­u­a­tions like this. I hope to en­joy the match like him, I will try my best.

“Af­ter Andy’s press con­fer­ence, I think a lot of peo­ple will watch. There will be a lot of in­ter­est from all the press. Andy is one of the ten­nis leg­ends in its his­tory. He is one of the best ten­nis play­ers in his­tory.

“It’s go­ing to be a nice ex­pe­ri­ence for me, par­tic­u­larly to play Andy. I hope it’s a nice match. It will be a great ex­pe­ri­ence to play against him in Aus­tralia in one of his last Grand Slams. I want to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence

“To­mor­row I will be in a com­pe­ti­tion, to win my match and try ev­ery­thing to get the win. To be ready for a dif­fi­cult match in these con­di­tions, I’ll con­cen­trate and try the best I can.”

The Spa­niard pre­pared for the first Grand Slam of the sea­son by beat­ing world No. 1 No­vak Djokovic on his way to win­ning the Qatar Open last week.

Mur­ray has pre­dicted his own de­feat in the first round but in­sisted he will try to “en­joy” per­haps his fi­nal ever match.

The Scot has been “very touched” by the mes­sages of sup­port from fans across the world af­ter an­nounc­ing he will re­tire this year.

The dou­ble Olympic cham­pion wants to say farewell at Wim­ble­don, but the pain in his hip could force him to stop af­ter the first Slam of the sea­son.

But Mur ray ac­cepts his 13th ap­pear­ance here will not last long.

“It will be tough walk­ing out for what could be my last match,” Mur­ray said.

“Lots of things have been weird. I know I’ve got no chance of win­ning the tour­na­ment and I know most likely I’m go­ing to lose in the first round here.

“I’m not happy about that but, be­cause of the way the last six months of com­pet­ing has gone, throw in the towel, how­ever, and they go into to­day’s An­glo-French show­down with boss Rob Bax­ter re­mind­ing them that they scaled much the same peak in 2016.

Bax­ter said: “What we did that sea­son high­lights to ev­ery­one that whether peo­ple give you a chance or not, if you play and I know that I could win but I know that it’s likely that I won’t.

“It’s go­ing to be un­com­fort­able be­cause if it is my last match I want to try and en­joy it and en­joy the whole ex­pe­ri­ence which is maybe some­thing dur­ing my ca­reer that I’ve not done be­cause it’s al­ways been like focused on tac­tics and win­ning and find­ing a way and that’s the most im­por­tant thing. Whereas com­ing in here, it feels very dif­fer­ent for me.”

Mur­ray added: “I know that it will be dif­fi­cult to stop. I love ten­nis. I love play­ing the game.”

Andy’s brother Jamie won the dou­bles ti­tle with Bruno Soares at the Syd­ney In­ter­na­tional, beat­ing No.1 seeds Robert Farah and Juan Se­bas­tian Ca­bal 6-4, 6-3.

Bri­tish No.2 Cameron Nor­rie lost the Auck­land Open fi­nal 6-4, 6-2 to USA’s Ten­nys Sand­gren. you just go for it, things can hap­pen. I’ve told the guys to go out en­joy, and don’t be neg­a­tive or nervy.

“Let’s just get on with it all, en­joy the oc­ca­sion, and see what hap­pens.” The re­turn of Eng­land star Now­ell, 25, gives them fur­ther op­ti­mism. He tore a ham­string and has not played in eight weeks.

TEARS FOR FEARS: Andy Mur­ray knows it could be his last com­pet­i­tive match WASH­ING­TON Wizards point guard To­mas Sa­toran­sky grew used to play­ing sec­ond fid­dle to his more il­lus­tri­ous club-mates dur­ing his days at Barcelona.The 27-year-old Czech (above) and his team-mates shared train­ing fa­cil­i­ties with Messi, Ney­mar and Co.And, nat­u­rally, it was the foot­ball gods rather than the bas­ket­ball giants who got most of the ado­ra­tion in the cap­i­tal of Catalunya.“You’d see the fans wait­ing for the foot­ball play­ers and then their dis­ap­point­ment when it was the bas­ket­ball play­ers [who came out],” said Sa­toran­sky.“The times I was with the foot­ball play­ers was when we went to see their games or they came to see our games.“Ney­mar, Ger­ard Pique, a bunch of other guys… we never had Christ­mas din­ners and events where we’d go to­gether.”

MISSED: Now­ell is key man for Ex­eter

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