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How Andy Murray has fared at the Australian Open in Melbourne
We pick out the best and worst of the former world No 1; now ranked 230
Last Updated: 11/01/19 9:42am
How will Andy Murray fare at the Australian Open this year? We delve into the archives and take a look back at how he has done in the past.
When Murray called an early end to a seriously truncated 2018 season, it was with the aim of a much more positive 2019. But, a year on from hip surgery and more than 18 months after the problem first surfaced, hopes that the Scot might be able to return to his level of old are fading fast.
His movement is still compromised and he remains in pain. Going into the tournament unseeded, Murray's return to Melbourne could be a brief one, although he is playing well enough to take advantage should the draw be kind.
Here, we delve into the archives and take a look back at how Murray has fared down under since his debut as a skinny, shy teenager in 2006.
Murray's opening-round opponent was Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela. 'El Flaco' was a clay-court specialist, but he had all the experience and expertise to brush the 18-year-old's challenge aside, inflicting a 6-1 6-3 6-3 loss.
In 2007, Murray showed just how much he had matured on court as he gained revenge over Chela in the round of 32, winning comfortably, 6-3 6-2 6-4. In the next round he faced the second-ranked Rafa Nadal and gave the Spaniard an almighty fright before going down, 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-4 3-6 1-6.
Murray was still at a stage of his career where he was growing into a fine physical specimen of an athlete and by the following year he was an established star - ranked 11th in the world - and headed to Australia having won the Qatar Open.
He was seeded ninth with high hopes of reaching his first major quarter-final until he was handed the toughest of first-round draws when he was pitted against big-hitting Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who was ranked 38th in the world. Murray ended up slumping to a 7-5 6-4 0-6 7-6 (7-5) defeat.
Murray arrived in Melbourne having suffered from a bout of illness which saw him confined to bed and medicated. Wins against Andrei Pavel, Marcel Granollers and Jurgen Melzer perked him up before his Melbourne dreams faded following a five-set thriller against the dangerous left-hander Fernando Verdasco, 2-6 6-1 1-6 6-3 6-4.
In the quarter-finals, he was 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 3-0 up against second-ranked Nadal when the Spaniard retired hurt due to a right knee injury on Rod Laver Arena.
That win by default set up a clash against Marin Cilic, the player who knocked him out of the US Open just a couple of months earlier. He showed great resilience and mental fortitude to win in four sets, 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-2 and reach the showpiece event.
In the final he came up against Roger Federer and it was the great man who showed his opponent just why he was world No 1 with a ruthless 6-3 6-4 7-6 (13-11) success.
I can cry like Roger. It's just a shame I can't play like him.
Murray on Federer
Murray had been hoping to become the first British male to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry's 1936 US Open victory, but it was Federer who was at his brilliant best to claim his first major title since the previous summer's Wimbledon. On the podium, an emotional Murray stepped back to the microphone and said: "I can cry like Roger. It's just a shame I can't play like him."
Twelve months later, it was the same old story for Murray, but this time against one of his closest friends on the tennis circuit - Serbia's Novak Djokovic.
They first met as juniors when they were 13 and Murray went into their latest encounter having prevailed on the last three occasions, all on hard courts, so the omens were good.
Sadly, on the day, Djokovic condemned Murray to a third defeat in a major final with a straightforward 6-4 6-2 6-3 win.
Djokovic was proving to be both the immovable object and irresistible force as Murray came up against 'The Serbinator' once more, but this time in the semi-finals. The 24-year-old Scot fell agonisingly short on a place in the final, losing to Djokovic in a five-set epic on Rod Laver Arena, 6-3 3-6 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 7-5.
The world No 1's extraordinary survival instincts kicked in just when he needed it in an astonishing match that lasted a gruelling four hours and 50 minutes.
Victory in New York put him in good stead heading into the new season and seemingly even more determined to prove a point at Melbourne Park. He faced the ultimate semi-final test against Federer - the man who prevented Murray from claiming the Wimbledon title just six months earlier.
He reached his sixth Grand Slam final and third consecutive in Australia thanks to a 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 victory over a hot-tempered Swiss. It was the first time that Murray had beaten his old rival at a major.
In the final, it was familiar foe in Djokovic waiting and once again it was the Serb who prevailed in four sets for his third consecutive Australian Open title and fourth overall.
Despite his heroics at the All England Club, Murray's search for a major Melbourne crown continued as he went into the first major of the year having just recovered from minor back surgery in September. The effort of reaching the last eight and then battling for three hours and 20 minutes appeared to be taking a toll on the Brit and he was sent crashing out by Federer at the quarter-final stage 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3.
Murray blamed himself for falling for Djokovic's rope-a-dope tactics after losing his fourth final in Melbourne. At the start of both the second and third sets the world No 1 looked to be a spent force physically as he stumbled and struggled to chase balls, but he roared back to blitz the Scot in four sets - winning 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-0.
Djokovic won 36 of the last 49 points and it was the first time in Australian Open history that the last set in a men's final had ended in a 'bagel' set.
Murray took on Djokovic for a fourth time in the final, but had only beaten the Serb once in their previous 11 meetings. It was no surprise to see that familiar look of resignation at the trophy presentation following a heavy 6-1 7-5 7-6 (7-3) defeat as he walked away as the runner-up for the fifth time in seven years.
Murray suffered a shock defeat by world No 50 Mischa Zverev in 2017 as the German played the Scot off the park in a modern-day take on the serve-volley game. The German registered a 7-5 5-7 6-2 6-4 victory with Murray failing to reach the quarter-finals at the tournament for the first time since 2009.
Nearly 12 months later and Murray withdrew from the event after failing to recover from a hip injury. He later underwent surgery and will head to Melbourne this year uncertain where his form and fitness will be.