Broken dreams: Andy Murray bravely exits Aus Open 2019 at 1st round after heroic fightback (PHOTOS)
The Spaniard, the tournament's 22nd-seed, was made to work for the win against the two-time Wimbledon and three-time Grand Slam champion, who had earlier announced his impending retirement, choosing next summer's grass court championship in London as his stage to step away from tennis.
The 31-year-old, who is also a five-time Australian Open finalist, didn't go down without a fight, eventually succumbing 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, 6-2, showing trademark grit to battle back in the third set tiebreak to peg back Bautista and then win the fourth to push him all the way to a fifth set for victory.
Murray got off to a slow start in the match, losing the opening two sets, although extremely closely, by identical scores of 6-4. His serve was broken in the third game of the third set, but the Scot immediately broke back to extend the match to a tiebreak, taking the set 7-5.
Another tiebreak was needed to determine the winner of the fourth set, where Murray again prevailed (6-4), levelling the match at two sets all.
The tenacious Spaniard didn’t give up, breaking Murray twice in the match-decider to take a 5-1 lead. Murray did hold his serve, making the score 5-2 before allowing Bautista to capitalize on a triple match point.
However, a fifth set proved too much of an ask for Murray, who was eventually eliminated from the tournament, which will potentially be his final appearance on the international circuit, by a whitewash in the final set.
"If this was my last match, it was an amazing way to end," Murray said after losing what could be the final match of his career without clarifying whether he plans to take part in other Grand Slams later this season.
“I don't really have anything else to say. Maybe I'll see you again, I'll do everything possible to try if I want to go again. I'll need to have a big operation to come back but I'll give it my best shot. Thank you”, he added while addressing the crowd who fiercely supported him during the match.Also on rt.com 'The pain is too much': Tearful tennis star Murray announces impending retirement