We think it is. We hope it isn’t. However, if that’s the last we see of Andy Murray at the Australian Open, it certainly came in a fitting send-off.
The literal embodiment of the phrase “walking wounded”, Murray probably shouldn’t have been jogging on a treadmill, let alone playing four hours and nine minutes of tennis, but hey, that’s just Andy Murray.
No one would’ve blamed him if he’d pulled out of this tournament. No one would’ve blamed him if his ailing hip led to him retiring mid-match. No one would’ve blamed him if he’d gone out quietly in three sets. Instead he battled until the last, the only person in Melbourne Arena who seemingly couldn’t hear his body scream “no more”, and if only for a moment at the end of the fourth set, actually had us believing he could win – alas, it wasn’t to be.
Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. Play a limited schedule? Sit out till Wimbledon? Retire immediately? Whatever his choice, you can be sure that everyone in that stadium and watching around the world got to see Andy Murray once more.
Here’s your three to see on day 2 in Melbourne:
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Ernests Gulbis (LAT) – Fourth on Court 3
Still on the comeback trail after an injury-affected 2018 season, what better first-round opponent for Stan Wawrinka than a man who permanently lives there in Ernests Gulbis? Technical differences aside, Gulbis is basically Wawrinka if he’d never got his act together, but as many a big name has learned over the years, it is unwise to take the heavy-hitting Latvian lightly, and if Wawrinka comes in sub-par, he could easily be made to pay for it. With that in mind, this should be both an interesting test for Wawrinka and a sneaky-good encounter for the neutral. Indeed, whether it goes three sets or five, it’s going to be a blast – literally – either way.
Simona Halep (ROU)  v Kaia Kanepi (EST) – First Match, Night Session on Margaret Court Arena (From 7:00pm AEDT)
Does anyone smell anything? Well, besides burnt flesh and tardily applied sunscreen, that is. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s definitely a waft of revenge coming from this match between 2018 AO finalist Halep and her first-round conqueror at last year’s US Open, Kaia Kanepi. A bad matchup for the Halep, the Romanian was completely unable to avoid Kanepi’s massive forehand in that New York encounter, and that led to her ceding far more ground along the baseline than even she’s comfortable with. If Halep is to turn the tables here, she’ll need to make a high-percentage of first-serves, and take the ball consistently early to keep her opponent hitting backhands, yet that’s particularly easier said than done on a court that, if it plays as fast as reported, should help Kanepi. If there’s any silver lining for Halep, it’s that the heat should help her wear the Estonian down, but not before she puts at least a good fight up.
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v Milos Raonic (CAN)  – Fourth on Melbourne Arena (Not before 7:00pm AEDT)
Knocked out in the first round here a year ago, you wouldn’t think Milos Raonic would be the one coming in the favourite, but such is the case when he squares off against the enigmatic Nick Kyrgios. Exiting in the R16 last year, Kyrgios certainly has more to lose should he flounder here, and hopefully that kicks him into gear for a match that should be very high quality. Splitting the head-to-head 3-3, these two are very evenly matched, and while the serve is sure to play a prominent part, both certainly have the firepower to keep the other from building any consistent momentum. Expect plenty of aces, plenty of winners, and a very tight affair.