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Murray pulls out of Marseille tournament as he contemplates hip surgery

Andy Murray is yet to make a final decision on whether to have hip surgery but has pulled out of a tournament in Marseille next month Credit: PA

Andy Murray is yet to make a final decision on whether to have hip surgery but has pulled out of a tournament in Marseille next month.

The former world number one headed home from Melbourne earlier this week, following his emotional first-round defeat by Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open, weighing up whether to have a resurfacing operation that could extend his career or end it completely.

Even if Murray does not have the operation, he has stated he would spend the time getting ready for a farewell appearance at Wimbledon, so it was no surprise to see a statement from the Open 13 in Marseille announcing Murray's withdrawal.

He will also miss tournaments he had committed to in Dubai and Montpellier but Murray's management insisted he has not made a final decision about surgery.

The 31-year-old strongly hinted ahead of his departure from Melbourne that he would have the operation, and was encouraged to do so by American doubles great Bob Bryan, who is playing at the Australian Open five months after undergoing the same procedure

Konta beaten in Australia by two-time grand slam champion Muguruza

British interest in the singles at the Australian Open ended with a late-night defeat for Johanna Konta against two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza. Credit: PA

British interest in the singles at the Australian Open ended with a late-night defeat for Johanna Konta against two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza.

Konta hit the first serve of the contest at 12.30am, making it the latest start to a match at Melbourne Park and almost certainly in grand slam history. By the time Muguruza struck the winning shot to claim a 6-4 6-7 (3) 7-5 victory, it was 3.12am.

"I can't believe there are still people watching at 3.15," said Muguruza. "Who cares?"

"I'll go for breakfast now," she added.

This was still nowhere near the latest finish ever, which came in 2008 when Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis played a five-set match that finished at 4.33am.

Although Konta did not come out on top of this one, this was a performance from the British number one that harked back to her form of two years ago, when she appeared a legitimate grand slam challenger, and should give her plenty of confidence for the season ahead.

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Edmund knocked out of Australian Open by Berdych

Edmund is out of the Australian Open. Credit: PA

British number one Kyle Edmund has been knocked out of the Australian Open 6-3 6-0 7-5 by Tomas Berdych.

It was a horrible draw for Edmund, seeded 13, against a player who has made at least the quarter-finals here in seven of the last eight years but has dropped down the rankings because of injury.

Edmund arrived in Melbourne with doubts over a knee problem and, although he declared himself happy with the progress he has made, he did not move well and offered little until the third set.

As a result of his defeat, the 24-year-old will drop outside of the world's top 20.

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Nadal sad at Murray's impending retirement

Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal expressed his sadness at Andy Murray's impending retirement but backed the Scot's decision as the right move for his mental health.

A tearful Murray revealed on Friday that the pain in his hip has become too much to bear and the Australian Open could be his final tournament.

Nadal said: "Of course it's very bad news. But when somebody like him, he achieved almost everything in his tennis career, is suffering like he's doing for such a long time already, and you feel that you are not competitive for the thing that really makes you wake up every morning and go on court with the passion to practise, to improve, and with a goal, then it is so difficult.

"Probably he is fighting to keep going since a long time. If he doesn't feel that the thing can go better, probably he does the right thing for his mental health.

"It will be a very important loss for us, for the world of tennis, for the tour, for the fans, even for the rivals that he has been part of a great rivalry between the best players for a long time, and a great competitor. But that's life."

Few people would have put money on Murray being the first of the 'big four' to retire, and his imminent exit is a stark reminder that this golden generation cannot go on forever.

"It seems like he had not a very long career," said Nadal. "But he's 31. Ten years ago, if he retired at 31, we will say he had a great and very long career. We will miss him. But today it's him, tomorrow another one. We are not 20 any more. Our generation, everyone is more than 30."

Nadal was a junior rival of Murray and the pair have known each other for 20 years.

"When he was a kid, he was little bit a bad boy," said the Spaniard with a smile. "I always had a good relationship with him. We shared the court in the most important stadiums in the world, competing for the most important things. That's impossible to forget."

Edmund fully focused on Australian Open bid

Credit: PA

British number one Kyle Edmund has pledged to do "everything he can" to be fit for the Australian Open after picking up a knee injury.

The 23-year-old, who is ranked 14th in the world, has withdrawn from next week's Sydney International, which was set to be his final warm-up event before the year's first grand slam in Melbourne.

"I am disappointed that I won't be able to return to Sydney," Edmund was quoted as saying on the Twitter account of the Sydney International.

"I need to focus on my preparations for the Australian Open and do everything I can to be fit for the first grand slam of the year."

Edmund reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2018, losing to Marin Cilic in straight sets, but suffered a shock defeat to Japan's world number 185 Yasutaka Uchiyama on Wednesday in the Brisbane International.

The Australian Open gets under way on January 14.

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