Round One of the 2019 Australian Open had tearful goodbyes, desperate pleas and, of course, fabulous tennis. Here's what caught our eye in the opening round of the Happy Slam!
Goodbye Sir Andy Murray
Monday saw Andy Murray play his last match at the Australian Open. The five-time finalist had announced last week that he wants to retire at Wimbledon after not fully recovering from a debilitating hip injury. He faced Roberto Bautista Agut in which was probably the final match of his career. In typical style, Murray fought back from two sets down to force the match into a deciding set even as he struggled with agonising pain. Ultimately, that wasn’t enough as Bautista Agut won the match.
After the match, an emotional Murray watched as a tribute video featuring fellow tennis stars was played out.
Murray, the jester
Andy Murray proved he hasn't lost his sense of humour despite chronic pain from a hip injury forcing him into retirement this year. The three-time Grand Slam winner came across long-time mate Nick Kyrgios in a restaurant and posted a photo on Instagram of the Aussie eating alone with the caption: "(Nick Kyrgios) having dinner with all his mates." Despite coming across as dour, Murray is known to enjoy a laugh. Last month he put a picture of himself swigging from a champagne bottle on Instagram and said: "Celebrating the end of 2018. What a shit year that was!"
Andy might be retiring but his sense of humour certainly isn't
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 14, 2019
Shapovalov begs Twitter to get him back on
Fast-rising 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov has been locked out of his Twitter account over a mix-up about his age, and he desperately wants to get back online. After cruising into the Australian Open second round, the young Canadian, seeded 25, pleaded for help. "There's some issues with my birth date and stuff. I'm actually just trying to figure that out right now. They don't want to let me back in. Please, Twitter, let me back in," he said. He added that he was "confused" about what was going on. "They just kind of kicked me out, said, yeah, I need to send a letter or something."
Hey @Twitter, you heard the man
— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) January 15, 2019
Katie Boulter’s premature celebration
Britain's Katie Boulter had an embarrassing moment when playing the first ever final-set tie-break at Melbourne Park. Instead of continuing until one player leads by two clear games, third sets for women and fifth sets for men now go to a super tie-break when the score reaches six games all with the first to 10 points triumphing. But the message didn't get through to a confused Boulter who celebrated victory over Russia's Ekaterina Makarova with a fist pump when she reached the more normal seven tie-breaker points. She approached the net to shake hands, only to be told the match hadn't finished. Unfazed, she returned to take it anyway 4-6, 7-6 (10/6).
Shot of the round
There’s something exquisite about a Roger Federer backhand that no matter how many times he has played it, we never get tired of it. In his match against Denis Istomin, Federer Played a number of his classic shots but this one was the best given how he found the narrowest of angles to squeeze his shot through.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) January 14, 2019
Hot take of Round 1: Andy Murray should not have given his all
It was painful to watch Murray battling through agonising pain. He deserves to go out at Wimbledon where he's a two-time champion and is so loved. He wasn't stupid to play, but he shouldn't have taken it to five sets if he's putting himself through so much pain to do it. He revealed that routine activities like walking his dogs or even putting on shoes have become painful for him. Murray will have to undergo surgery on his hip to be able to lead a pain-free life. That, however, means that he would never be able to play tennis again. Should his agonising match prompt him to opt for the surgery in the coming months, tennis fans will lose the opportunity to watch Sir Andy bow out at his stomping ground at Wimbledon. And so, watching him playing at 100 percent against Bautista Agut is not worth it. He deserves a better farewell than that.
Yulia "Trump" Putintseva
The highlight of round 1 was undoubtedly the frosty handshake between Yulia Putintseva and Barbora Strycova. The duo has an acrimonious history when it comes to post-match handshakes which you can see here, here, here and here. In a move that would make Donald Trump proud, Putintseva squeezed her opponent’s hand rather too tightly much to Strycova's anger.
I KNEW STRYCOVA AND PUTINTSEVA WON'T DISSAPPOINT ME! HANDSHAKE OF THE YEAR pic.twitter.com/hCo1PHmGnS
— LorenaPopa️♀️ (@popalorena) January 14, 2019
Putintseva was maybe just trying to ensure that Strycova knew who came out on top in their match. Trump approves!
With inputs from AFP
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Updated Date: Jan 16, 2019 12:23:18 IST