Australian Open

Murray ponders future after Melbourne exit

Andy Murray lost a five-set thriller in Melbourne
Dejected: Andy Murray

Andy Murray’s future has again come under the microscope after the Scot’s disappointing exit from the Australian Open.

The 34-year-old suffered a straight-sets defeat to Taro Daniel, ranked 120 in the world, losing 6-4 6-4 6-4.

The second-round loss is the first time Murray has lost in a Grand Slam to an opponent ranked as low as the Japanese qualifier and the clock appears to be ticking on his career after he refused to say whether he would be back in Melbourne.

Asked if he was certain to return next year, he said: “Not if I do what I did tonight too often this season. Tonight is not good enough. Making the second round of slams is not something I find particularly motivating.

“I want to be doing better than that. I’m really, really disappointed; very frustrated. It’s a tough loss for me, that’s for sure.

“After a good win in the first round I created an opportunity for myself. It was probably a match I should win and I didn’t take that chance.

“I haven’t lost to someone outside 100 before in a slam.

“I’m not seeded just now – I’m far away from that, which makes things difficult.

“Moving up the rankings gives you the opportunity to build your way into a tournament, so that you don’t have to come out and start playing really well straight away.”

Murray, now ranked 113 in the world, had to rely on a wild card to compete in the tournament.

He has shown remarkable fortitude to battle back from a career-threatening hip injury to compete again at the top level.

He showed typical grit in beating 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round on Tuesday but was in contemplative mood after failing to make the third round on John Cain Arena.

“I would rather not be away from my family for five, six weeks at a time, but I still love to compete and play tennis,” he said.

“There is a balance that you need to have. My family has been a bit sick the last week. When that’s the case, you also want to be there to help and feel like you’re contributing.

“It’s harder leaving home when you’ve got four children than it was when I was in my mid-20s.”

Raducanu was advised not to play

There was also disappointment for Emma Raducanu, who lost in three sets to world No. 98 Danka Kovinic.

It emerged afterwards that her team had advised her not to play in the Australian Open second round because of a blister on her racquet hand.

The 19-year-old US Open champion raced into a 3-0 lead before needing treatment on her hand and losing the opening set.

She fought back to win the second set but was beaten 6-4 4-6 6-3 on Margaret Court Arena.

Raducanu said she has been nursing the blister for about five days.

“It has been a challenge, for sure,” she said. “The past few days I have been really hindered in my practice and couldn’t hit any forehands or serves at all.

“Some people in my team didn’t really want me to go out there. I wanted to go and fight and see how far that would take me.”

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