Andy Murray still a long way short of full fitness as he limps to defeat against Roberto Bautista Agut

Andy Murray has admitted that he stays a long way short of reaching full fitness after he misplaced a one-set exhibition match to Roberto Bautista Agut in Abu Dhabi, after stepping in as a late alternative for the injured Novak Djokovic.

Murray volunteered on the final minute to substitute Djokovic on the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, after the Serb was pressured to withdrawn having skilled additional ache in his elbow. Djokovic later admitted that his participation on the Australian Open is now unsure.

Like Djokovic, Murray final performed a aggressive match on the Wimbledon quarter-finals in July and the Scot volunteered to play Bautista Agut when information of Djokovic’s withdrawal broke. The Scot had initially flown out to the emirate intending solely to make use of the follow courts, as he continues to put together for his aggressive return following a longstanding hip damage.

The information that Murray could be changing Djokovic appeared to counsel his comeback was progressing nicely, however he was a long way short of his finest against the Spaniard and struggled together with his motion through the 6-2 defeat.

The limp that characterised his troubled Wimbledon marketing campaign was on full show and his motion was notably hampered when dragged out vast on his forehand facet by Bautista Agut, who’s ranked 4 locations beneath Murray at 20th within the ATP world rankings.

Bautista Agut raced into a Four-Zero lead though Murray defended sport factors for 5-Zero after which prevailed in a closely-fought 12-minute service sport, throughout which he saved three match factors at 1-5. He misplaced the following sport, however commented in an on-court interview after his defeat that he was inspired by his efficiency within the closing phases.

“I felt better as it went along and obviously I was a bit slow at the start,” he mentioned.

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Murray struggled when dragged out vast on his forehand facet (Getty)

“Roberto is one of the perfect gamers on this planet and when you have not competed for a long whereas it takes time to get again up to that tempo.

“I started to feel a bit better towards the end, but I’ll need to keep improving for sure.”

Murray should now resolve whether or not to enter subsequent week’s Brisbane International as he continues to construct up his fitness forward of the Australian Open, which begins in simply over two weeks’ time. Murray has by no means received in Melbourne, though he has completed runner-up on 5 events.

Djokovic’s participation on the first Grand Slam of the season can be unsure after the previous world primary suffered a recurrence of the elbow damage that scuppered the second-half of his 2017 marketing campaign.

And, in a assertion printed on his official web site, the 12-time Grand Slam winner admitted that the longstanding damage “might affect the start of the season”.

“I am terribly disappointed that I am forced to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship,” Djokovic wrote.

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Murray stepped in as a alternative for Djokovic (prime) (Getty)

“Unfortunately, up to now few days I began to really feel ache within the elbow and after a number of exams, my medical crew has suggested me not to danger something, to withdraw from the event and to instantly proceed with the therapies.

“I’m very unhappy as a result of I used to be keen to return to taking part in official matches. I loved the practices and every thing I did to prepare for the beginning of the season, together with the event in Abu Dhabi, the place I at all times get pleasure from taking part in.

“Now I want to settle for this case, and to await the outcomes of the therapies, so as to begin taking part in tennis once more and getting again to full rhythm.

“This might affect the start of the season and the tournament plan, but the decision will be made in the following days.”

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Federer is the bookmakers’ favorite to win the 2018 Australian Open (Getty)

Roger Federer is the bookmakers’ favorite to defend his Australian Open crown, given the well-documented damage struggles of his essential rivals. Like Murray and Djokovic, present World No 1 Rafa Nadal was pressured to withdraw from the Mubadala Championship and also will be absent from the Brisbane International as he continues to nurse a knee damage.


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