Murray says Aus­tralian Open could be his last tour­na­ment

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS -

SYDNEY — For­mer world num­ber one Andy Murray, who has been strug­gling with a hip in­jury, says the Aus­tralian Open could be his last tour­na­ment, though he would like to make it to Wimbledon.

Strug­gling to hold back his emo­tions at a press con­fer­ence in Melbourne on Fri­day, the 31year-old Scot briefly left after the first ques­tion to re­gain his com­po­sure.

“[I’m] not feel­ing good,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously I’ve been strug­gling for a long time. I’ve been in a lot of pain for what’s been prob­a­bly about 20 months now.

“I’ve pretty much done ev­ery­thing that I could to try and get my hip feel­ing bet­ter and it hasn’t helped loads.”

He said that though he could still “play to a level” it wasn’t “a level that I’m happy playing at.

“But it’s not just that — the pain is too much re­ally. I don’t want to con­tinue playing that way. I’ve tried pretty much ev­ery­thing to get it right and that hasn’t worked.”

Asked whether the Aus­tralian Open, which be­gins on Mon­day, could be his last tour­na­ment, he replied: “I think there’s a chance of that for sure, be­cause I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for an­other four or five months.”

He said he told his team in De­cem­ber that he needed an “end point.”

“I said to my team I think I can kind of get through this to Wimbledon, that’s where I’d like to stop playing ... but I’m also not cer­tain I’m able to do that.”

He also ad­mit­ted that ev­ery­day tasks such as putting shoes and socks on were “a strug­gle.”

The three-time grand slam cham­pion, who has been an Aus­tralian Open fi­nal­ist five times, was op­er­ated on a year ago but has strug­gled with his re­turn, miss­ing most of the last sea­son.

On Thurs­day he won just two out of 12 games in a prac­tice match with world num­ber one No­vak Djokovic.

Aus­tralian Open draw: Fed­erer handed kind start

De­fend­ing cham­pion Roger Fed­erer has been handed a kind draw in the early stages of the Aus­tralian Open, with his first match to be against world num­ber 99 De­nis Is­tomin of Uzbekistan.

How­ever the third seed, who will be try­ing for his 21st grand slam ti­tle and sev­enth Aus­tralian Open ti­tle, could face rising star Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas in the fourth round and Marin Cilic, whom he de­feated for last year’s ti­tle, in the quar­ter fi­nal.

The draw, made at Melbourne Park on Thurs­day, means he can­not meet top seed No­vak Djokovic, who will play a qual­i­fier in his first match, un­til the fi­nal.

“The mo­ment you find out the draw and who you’re playing that’s when you shift your fo­cus to the first round and to only the first round and not to win­ning a sev­enth [ti­tle],” said Fed­erer, who at­tended the draw.

The 37-year-old said he was hop­ing to de­fend his ti­tle “be­cause I can’t be­lieve I won the last two, so that has to be the goal. But I’m re­ally try­ing not to put too much pres­sure on my­self.”

Djokovic, the world num­ber one, could face wild­card JoWil­fried Tsonga, whom he beat in the 2008 fi­nal, in the second round and world num­ber four Alexan­der Zverev if both play­ers progress to the semis.

Second seed Rafael Nadal opens against Aus­tralian wild­card James Duck­worth.

In the women’s draw, Simona Halep has a tough start, fac­ing off in her first match against Es­to­nia’s Kaia Kanepi, who de­feated her in straight sets in the first round of last year’s US Open.

The world num­ber one could also meet 23-time grand slam cham­pion Ser­ena Wil­liams, who missed last year’s tour­na­ment after giv­ing birth to her first child, in the fourth round.

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