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Agut expects tough duel from injured Murray at Australian Open

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Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain reacts after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in their ATP Qatar Open tennis semi-final match in Doha on January 4, 2019. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut will give no quarter to Andy Murray in their first round clash at the Australian Open and expects the injured Briton to “fight” hard in what could be his last match as a professional.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray said on Friday that he might retire after the tournament, with the pain of his right hip having become almost unbearable.

Murray’s admission prompted a flood of tributes from the tennis world, while thrusting the 22nd seed Bautista Agut into a rare spotlight, and the awkward position of potentially ending the popular Scot’s career in defeat.

“Well, everybody knows Andy, everybody knows that when he goes onto the court he gives 100 percent,” the soft-spoken Bautista Agut told reporters at Melbourne Park yesterday.

“He’s going to fight as he did all his career, and tomorrow’s going to be the same.

“On the court I will be in a competition to win my match and of course I will try everything to get the win.

“I have to be ready for a difficult match in these conditions, and well, I’ll try to concentrate.”

Former world number 13 Bautista Agut has never taken a set off Murray in three previous matches but will have his best chance to beat the ailing 31-year-old, whose ranking has slipped to 230 after having hip surgery a year ago.

The Spaniard is also riding a rare wave of form, having claimed his ninth title at the recent Qatar Open where he knocked world Number One Novak Djokovic out of the semifinals.

The win was the perfect start to the new season following a difficult 2018 when he suffered a slew of injuries, including a groin problem that ruled him out of Wimbledon.

“It’s the worst thing in the tennis life, and the tennis career, you know, when you have injuries and you cannot play or you have to go on court feeling that you are not ready or you are not 100 percent,” said the 30-year-old.


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