Federer opens Australian title defense as Murray hobbles into action

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But, writing in the Sunday Post, she voiced hope that his glittering career will help inspire Scotland.

During the press conference in Melbourne the 31-year-old said that "the pain [in his hip] is too much", despite undergoing surgery. I didn't want to do that. What has made the fab four such riveting drama is not just the contrasts in styles, but also the weight of their rivalries, Djokovic for instance has played 135 matches against fellow members of this elite circle.

"Even if a lot of days you go on court when you have troubles or you go to the gym without having a real goal or without knowing why I am going there, because I don't see a benefit on this day, you keep going", Nadal said.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic added their tributes to the outpouring of support for Andy Murray as the Scot gears up for what could be his final professional tennis match.

"I would love Andy to be a commentator with me on Eurosport", he said. We will miss him.

Murray, who became the first British player in 77 years to win the men's singles title at the All England Club in 2013, is retiring from tennis this year due to continuing pain in his hip.

'Being honest, I am not in the council anymore, and at the same time, nobody from the council side came to me and asked me my opinion, ' he said after his first-round win over James Duckworth.

'I don't have to go. "He is truly inspirational".

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His great rival Nadal expressed his sadness at Murray's impending retirement but backed his decision as the right move for his mental health.

"But being honest, when somebody like him, that he achieved nearly everything in his tennis career, is suffering like he's done 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 practice, to improve, and with a goal, then it's so hard, no?"

"It's going to take time for me to deal with it".

"I don't know how he does it", the Frenchwoman said.

The longevity of that oligarchy, which also includes world No. 2 Rafael Nadal, has blocked several younger players from breaking through on tennis' biggest stages.

"He was able to do that and he won Wimbledon which was a really hard thing for a British male player to do, he overcame the weight on his shoulders, he won Olympic gold twice, he won Davis Cup nearly single-handedly for Great Britain and he got to number one in the world, season ending, the career was magnificent".

If he is to fall at the first hurdle, it could mark the sad end the career of arguably Britain's greatest ever sportsman, Sir Andy Murray. But today is him, tomorrow another one.

Although the German is regarded as the most capable of the next generation to break the Slam cartel of the old guard, he has never gotten beyond the third round in Melbourne and has reached the last eight of a Major only once.

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