AP Photo

Tearful Murray: Australian Open could be last tournament

3 Comments

MELBOURNE, Australia — A tearful Andy Murray says the Australian Open could be his last tournament because of a hip injury that has hampered him for almost two years.

The three-time Grand Slam champion says he plans to start his opening match against No. 22-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open, where he has reached the final five times but never won the title.

“I’m going to play (in Australia) – I can still play to the level,” Murray said. “Not a level I’m happy playing at – but also, it’s not just that. The pain is too much really.”

Murray had right hip surgery in January 2018 and, after two brief attempts to return to the tour, played only 12 matches in the year.

He returned at the Brisbane International last week, where he won his opening match but lost in the second round to Daniil Medvedev, showing visible signs of limping between points.

The 31-year-old Murray, who ended long Grand Slam droughts for British men and also won the Olympic gold medal, had hoped to play the first half of 2019 and make a run at Wimbledon.

“That’s where I’d like to stop playing … but I’m also not certain I’m able to do that,” Murray said. “I don’t want to continue playing that way. I’ve tried everything I could to get it right and that hasn’t worked.”

Murray held a news conference Friday at Melbourne Park, and had to leave the room for a while soon after it started to compose himself as he fronted the media.

He said he’s considering another hip operation, more to improve his quality of life than as a way to return to the top level in tennis.

The Australian Open starts Monday.

Matteo Berrettini breaks through on grass to win Stuttgart Open

AP Photo
Leave a comment

STUTTGART, Germany — Matteo Berrettini beat Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-6 (11) to win the Stuttgart Open and his third tour-level title on Sunday.

The Italian saved five set points in a second-set tiebreaker and clinched his first title on grass. His other titles came at Budapest in April, and Gstaad, Switzerland, last year.

The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime previously reached championship matches in Rio de Janeiro in February and the Lyon Open in May – both on clay.

Berrettini won all 50 of his service games during the week in Stuttgart. He did not face a break point against Auger-Aliassime.

Auger-Aliassime progressed to the final in his first professional grass tournament without playing Saturday as compatriot Milos Raonic withdrew ahead of their semifinal due to back problems.

Playing on two surfaces, Vekic reaches Nottingham semis

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NOTTINGHAM, England — Former champion Donna Vekic finally got to play on grass at the Nottingham Open on Friday but had to overcome multiple rain delays and another switch indoors before reaching the semifinals.

The second-seeded Vekic defeated Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-4 in a match played on two surfaces as rain again played havoc with the schedule.

The opening two days were completely washed out before organizers decided to switch the first and second rounds indoors as rain fell for four consecutive days.

Vekic, who won the tournament in 2017, will play Germany’s Tatjana Maria in her third straight semifinal in Nottingham. Maria earlier defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 7-6 (7) in the only match completed on grass so far at the tournament.

Also Friday, American Jennifer Brady defeated fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-5, 6-3 to set up a semifinal against top-seeded Caroline Garcia.

Garcia rallied to beat Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse 4-6, 7-6, 6-1 in the last quarterfinal.