If Monday’s match in the Australian Open was going to be the last of Andy Murray’s wonderful career then the Melbourne crowd wanted him to know how much he has been appreciated by fans of tennis the world over.
Prior to his serve, down 5-1 in the fifth and final set to Roberto Bautista Agut, the fans got to their feet and began enthusiastically applauding the Scottish star.
Murray acknowledged the crowd as the clearly emotional 31-year-old composed himself before action restarted.
Typically of Murray, both in this match and his entire career, he refused to go down without a fight. Facing a break point, Murray managed to get the game to deuce before winning two serves later.
Bautista Agut would wrap up victory on his next serve, eliminating his opponent from the tournament at the first-round stage, but that one game must have felt like victory for Murray, who was clearly hobbled by his hip injury from the start.
Asked about his immediate future after the defeat, the two-time Wimbledon champion refused to rule out a return to Melbourne in the future, but admitted there was every chance his next hip operation would end his playing career.