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14 Jan, 2019 14:30

'Why are they bidding him farewell?': Confusion reigns at Australian Open after Murray tribute video

'Why are they bidding him farewell?': Confusion reigns at Australian Open after Murray tribute video

Though he has not officially announced his retirement, several of tennis' biggest names paid tribute to Andy Murray following his defeat in the opening round of the Australian Open, in spite of his wish to play on until Wimbledon.

Murray lost the first two sets to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in the preliminary stages of the annual hardcourt tournament in Melbourne and, while he rallied to tie the match at two sets apiece, he lost the fifth by a score of 6-2 ending his bid to appear in his sixth Australian Open final.

READ MORE: Andy Murray bravely exits Aus Open 2019 at 1st round after heroic fightback

Many have suspected that, given Murray's recent admission that his time in the sport was drawing to a close due to a debilitating injury to his right hip, that a loss in Monday's match would signal the end of the two-time Wimbledon winner's career and, while he hasn't yet made an official statement with regard to his future, chiefs at the Australian Open prepared a video in which his peers paid tribute to the Scot's impressive career - and played the clip inside Melbourne Park for him to watch.

In the video, several of tennis' biggest names including Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic speak of their admiration for Murray's impact on the sport and, in particular, the efforts he made throughout his career to support women's tennis.

However, as thoughtful as the gesture was, several people online have questioned the wisdom in broadcasting such a video, given that Murray has yet to speak on his immediate future.

The first indications that Murray was contemplating retirement came at a press conference last Friday, in which the clearly emotional player admitted that his struggle to overcome the hip injury he has been dealing with since 2017 may hasten his exit from the sport.

However, he stated that he would like to prolong his career to this summer's grass court championship at Wimbledon so as to bow out from the game in front of his fellow Brits. 

Comments on Sunday, though, from the surgeon who performed an operation on Murray's injured hip, appeared to throw cold water on the idea.

"I don't think it is impossible, but it will be very difficult," Dr. John O'Donnell said on BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek radio program.

Also on rt.com 'It will be very difficult': Andy Murray's surgeon slams brakes on Wimbledon farewell plans

"He has tried really hard and explored every option that has any real possibility of being helpfulRealistically I don't think there is anywhere else to go to preserve his hip and get it better so he can continue to play. That won't happen now," he added.

It was notable that Murray didn't directly address retirement after being asked for his comments on the tribute video. 

"I have been fortunate and unlucky to play in an era with so many great players," he said. "To have the respect of your peers is very nice and it is great they took time to do that.

Word is expected soon from Murray as to his plans for the future, but, regardless of whether he serves up more entertainment for tennis fans at Wimbledon this summer, his status as the best British player of the modern age is assured.