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Retiring Andy Murray felt ‘helpless’ in Novak Djokovic practice match drubbing


Murray was beaten comfortably by the world No. 1 (Picture: Getty Images)

Andy Murray admitted he felt ‘helpless’ in a one-sided defeat against Novak Djokovic in a practice match at Melbourne Park, as his great rival put him to the sword.

Top-ranked Djokovic didn’t seem to move out of first gear in a routine 6-1 4-1 win over the former world No. 1, who cut a frustrated figure after the match.

Since then, Murray has announced his plans to retire from tennis in 2019, with the Scot hoping to hang up his racquet after a farewell performance at Wimbledon, although there is an acceptance that Monday’s Australian Open first-round tie with Roberto Bautista Agut could prove to be his final professional tennis match.

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Murray couldn’t hold back the tears in an emotional press conference on Friday morning as he revealed his future plans, and he later gave further insight to the frustration he felt on court against Djokovic – a man he has faced in four Australian Open finals – during a drubbing on Margaret Court Arena.

‘You just kind of feel like helpless on the court,’ he told reporters on Friday.

‘It’s just… it sucks. I’ve played I don’t know how many hours of tennis against him here over the years. And although I didn’t win, the competitiveness was always there.

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‘On Thursday, there was none of that and there was no feeling of rivalry. I was just not happy with the way I felt on court.’

Murray had earlier revealed he had told his team about his plans to retire during the off-season, but he pinpointed the exact moment he knew he had to cut his career short when practising with Spain’s Fernando Verdasco at Crandon Park in Miami.

‘It was in December when I kind of made that decision and told my team about it,’ he added. ‘It was in the middle of one practice. I had tears in my eyes and said, “My hip is killing me. I shouldn’t be continuing to go through that for nothing any more”.

‘As the practice went on, it was getting worse and I was like, “I can’t do this. What am I doing this for?” The same sequence is happening. As soon as I start to increase my tennis load and competing and playing matches, the pain gets worse and my performance drops and I have to take a rest for a few days.

‘The way it’s happened doesn’t sit particularly well with me. It’s not how I would want to finish playing. I don’t think any athlete wants that, they want to go out when they ­decide, not have their body telling them that that is the case. That’s the hardest part of it.’

Murray didn’t shut the door completely on a return to competitive action in the future, as he prepares to undergo another round of surgery on the troublesome hip.

‘If I stop playing tennis today, I would seriously be considering having an operation because day-to-day life is not fun,’ the 31-year-old Scot said.

‘I can’t do stuff I would want to do, even if I wasn’t a professional athlete. I would want to go and play football with my friends, or go and play 18 holes of golf and enjoy doing that. Whereas I can’t think of anything worse than going and playing five-a-side football with my friends, because I can’t kick a football.

‘There is a possibility it could prolong my career. Hip resurfacing is something that has been around for 15 years and allows younger people to live a very active lifestyle. That is why, I think and understand from speaking to experts, it is a better option for somebody of my age [than a hip replacement].’





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