Sir Andy Murray has bowed out of the Australian Open in the first round today in what could have been the final match of his glittering career.
The former world number one lost in five sets to 22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut just days after he announced that he will retire this year.
The three time Grand Slam winner was cheered on by the crowd packed with British fans watching the clash at Melbourne Park.
But despite strong support he couldn't defeat the Spaniard, eventually losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2.
The former world number one lost in five sets to 22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut just days after he announced that he will retire this year
He was congratulated at the end of the match by Agut after he was defeated in five sets
Murray holds his arm aloft as he thanks the watching crowd who roared in support for every point he won in the match
Speaking after the match Murray struggled to hold back tears as he said: 'Thanks so so much to everyone that came out tonight.
'I love playing here. If that was my last match, what an amazing way to end.
'If I want to go again, I need to have a big operation. I will give it my best shot. Thank you.'
Three time Grand Slam winner Murray, lost the opening two sets 6-4 but fought back to win the third and fourth set in a tie break
The former world number one is playing No 22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut just days after he announced that he will retire this year
Murray brother Jamie and mother Judy cheer him on from the stands as he plays his first round match at the Australian Open. His wife Kim was not in the crowd
Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut plays a forehand return to Britain's Andy Murray during their first round match at the Australian Open this morning
His mother Judy and brother Jamie were in the stands, but his wife Kim Sears, 41, who gave birth to their second daughter in 2017 and rarely misses a game was not in the crowd.
The defeat may have been Murray's last ever match after failing to overcome a devastating hip injury.
He said he plans on ending his incredible career at Wimbledon in the summer, but admitted the Australian Open could be his last tournament because the pain has become too unbearable.
British supporters had cheered their hero as he walked onto court, and two held aloft a banner that read: 'There will only ever be one Andy Murray. Thanx for the memories.'
Earlier today the Scot looked in good spirits as he signed autographs for fans who watched him train alongside his coaching team.
Andy Murray looks to the sky as he loses the first set 6-4 in the first round of the Australian Open
Murray, pictured in action today, revealed on Friday that he planned to end his incredible career at Wimbledon this summer after failing to overcome a devastating hip injury
British supporters cheered their hero as he walked onto court, and two held aloft a banner that read: 'There will only ever be one Andy Murray. Thanx for the memories'
Andy Murray reacts after a point against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut during their first round
Murray was welcomed onto court with a huge roar from the crowd at Melbourne Park this morning. Fans held aloft banners in tribute to the former world number one
He said ahead of today's match: 'I know I've got no chance of winning this tournament and most likely I'm going to lose in the first round.
'I'm not happy about that. Because of the way the last six months of competing have gone, I could win but it's likely that I won't. It's going to be uncomfortable.
'If it is my last match, I want to try and enjoy it - enjoy the whole experience, which is maybe something during my career that I've not done.
Andy Murray hold his arm aloft as he thanks fans for the reception as he walks out onto court
Andy Murray, pictured to the right of this image, is playing Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round
Earlier today Murray practices ahead of his potential curtain call at the Australian Open
'I've always been focused on tactics and winning and finding a way.'
In an emotional press conference on Friday morning, Murray broke down in tears as he revealed he would retire.
He told how the pain had become so unbearable that he is even struggling to put on socks and shoes.
After leaving the emotional media gathering in Melbourne, Murray returned to his hotel and posed for a selfie with his mother Judy.
The former World No 1 has been struggling with his injury for more than eighteen months and said his fitness was 'not great'
The Dunblane born star struggled to contain his emotions as he tried to address the press ahead of the Australian Open
The tennis world reacted with shock and sadness after Murray made his shocking announcement during an emotional press conference
He wrote on Instagram: 'Best way to feel better after a tough day is a big cuddle from your mum.
'Genuinely been very touched by all of the messages and support from everybody today.
'It means a lot and has made me feel much more positive than when I woke this morning. Thank you so much.'
If today is his final ever match, it would bring down the curtain on one of the great British sporting careers, one that has seen him win three Grand Slams, two Olympic golds and the Davis Cup.
Andy Murray posed for an emotional picture with mother Judy just hours after he announced he will retire from tennis this year
SIR ANDY MURRAY'S MOST MEMORABLE MATCHES
2008, Wimbledon, 4th round - bt Richard Gasquet 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2, 6-4
The match that established Murray's reputation for never giving up. The 21-year-old was two sets and a break down before recovering to reach the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the first time. The backhand down the line during the third-set tie-break that left him almost in the crowd is arguably his most memorable shot.
2011, Japan Open, final - bt Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-2, 6-0
Having lost to Nadal in three successive grand slam semi-finals, Murray produced one of his best ATP Tour performances, coming from a set down to defeat the great Spaniard with a fine display of attacking tennis.
2012, Olympic Games, gold medal match - bt Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4
Four weeks after his heartbreaking Wimbledon final loss to Federer, Murray played arguably the greatest match of his career to claim his first global title. Admittedly he was facing a tired Federer but this was complete domination in front of a raucous and disbelieving Centre Court crowd.
2012, US Open, final - bt Novak Djokovic 7-6 (12-10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2
In his fifth final, Murray finally won a grand slam title in fittingly dramatic fashion. It looked like he might have blown his chance when Djokovic fought back from two sets down to level but the Scot was not to be denied.
2013, Australian Open, semis - bt Federer 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2
Going for a second successive slam title, Murray secured his only slam victory over Federer. Although it took five sets, the Swiss was hanging on to Murray with his fingernails for most of the match and was helpless in the fifth set.
2013, Wimbledon, final - bt Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
The most important match of Murray's career was a fitting way for the Scot to end Fred Perry's 77-year reign as the last home men's singles winner. Superb throughout, the final game was a match in itself before Murray at last got his hands on the golden trophy.
2015, Davis Cup, final - bt David Goffin 6-3, 7-5, 6-3
Of all Murray's many wonderful achievements, winning the Davis Cup for Great Britain virtually single-handed in 2015 might well be the best of them. It was fitting he should win the final point against Belgium in Ghent, sealed with a stunning lob.
2016, French Open, semis - bt Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
The match that showed Murray had conquered clay as he knocked out the defending champion to reach his only final at Roland Garros.
2016, Wimbledon, final - bt Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-2)
For the first time in his 11 slam finals, Murray found someone other than Federer or Djokovic on the other side of the net. From the start, he stamped his authority on first-time finalist Raonic and did not let up.
2016, Olympics, gold medal match - bt Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5
This gruelling, emotional victory in Rio gave Murray something none of his illustrious rivals have managed as he became the first tennis player to successfully defend an Olympic singles title.
The father of two began his press conference on Friday by stating 'I'm not great' in a broken tone when asked how he was feeling after an 18-month battle to return to the sport.
SIR ANDY MURRAY'S CAREER BY NUMBERS
1 - Murray became the first British singles player ever to officially be ranked world number one on November 7, 2016.
41 - The number of weeks the Scot spent on top of the rankings.
3 - Grand slam titles
11 - Grand slam finals
45 - Career singles titles
2 - Doubles titles, both with brother Jamie
9 - Singles titles in 2016, including five in a row to end the season as world number one
2 - Olympic singles gold medals
11 - Murray won all 11 rubbers he contested to drive Great Britain to Davis Cup glory in 2015, an unprecedented feat
663 - Tour-level matches won
£47,887,068 - Career prize money
3 - Only person to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year three times
5,573 - Aces served
29 - Combined wins against Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
He then became emotional and left the room for several minutes to compose himself, and on returning laid bare in heartbreaking detail how the pain in his hip meant he had stopped enjoying the sport he loved.
'Obviously I have been struggling a long time and I have been in pain for about twenty months now,' he said.
'I've pretty much done everything that I could to try and get my hip feeling better and it hasn't helped loads.
'I'm in a better place than I was six months ago but still in a lot of pain. It's been tough.
'I'm going to play here. I can still play to a certain level, not a level I'm happy playing at.
It's not just that. The pain is too much really, I don't want to continue playing that way.
'I've tried pretty much everything I could do but it hasn't worked. In the middle of December I spoke to my team and told them I can't keep doing this.'
'I thought I need to have an end point, because I was playing with no idea of when the pain was going to stop.
'I said to them maybe I could get through this until Wimbledon, that is where I would like to stop playing but I am also not certain I am able to do that.'
Asked whether this could turn out to be his last event he replied: 'There's a chance of that for sure.'
Tributes have poured in for Murray from around the tennis world as he announced he could no longer play through the pain barrier.
Defending Australian Open champion Roger Federer said: 'I was disappointed and sad, a little bit shocked, to know now that we're going to lose him at some point, but we're going to lose everybody at some point.
'It's just now that it's definite.'
TIMELINE OF ANDY MURRAY'S TROUBLE WITH INJURY
June 9, 2017 – Murray puts shaky form going into the French Open behind him to reach the semi-finals before losing to Swiss ace Stan Wawrinka but begins to feel the flare-up of a long-standing hip issue that had previously been under control
June 27, 2017 – Murray does not mention his hip problem after losing his first match at Queen's to Jordan Thompson but is forced to publicly acknowledge it when he pulls out of a scheduled exhibition match at the Hurlingham Club, a move cited as precautionary
July 2, 2017 – After pulling out of a second Hurlingham match, Murray calms fears he may be forced to miss Wimbledon by confirming on the eve of the tournament that he will play
July 12, 2017 – Walking with a noticeable limp, Murray battles his way into the quarter-finals but his title defence ends with a five-set loss to Sam Querrey. Afterwards, Murray insists he does not expect to be away from the tour for too long
August 26, 2017 – After pulling out of two Masters events and losing his world No 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal, Murray travels to New York intending to return at the US Open. But two days before the tournament he announces at a press conference that he is pulling out, saying his hip is too sore to give him a chance of winning the tournament
September 6, 2017 – Murray heads home for further consultations with a number of hip specialists then announces he is likely to miss the rest of the year but is hoping to avoid surgery
January 2, 2018 – Murray schedules the Brisbane International for his second attempt at a comeback only to pull out on the eve of his first match. In a heartfelt post on Instagram accompanied by a childhood photo, Murray says: 'I choose this pic as the little kid inside me just wants to play tennis and compete. I genuinely miss it so much and I would give anything to be back out there.'
January 8, 2018 – Murray announces he has undergone hip surgery in Melbourne. In an upbeat assessment, he says surgeon John O'Donnell is very happy and that he is targeting a return for the grass-court season
March 28, 2018 – Murray posts his first picture on social media after returning to on-court training at Patrick Mouratoglou's academy in Nice
May 8, 2018 – After Murray does not enter a Challenger tournament in Glasgow that had been earmarked for his return, it emerges he has suffered a setback in his recovery and has been forced to take more time away from the court
June 5, 2018 – Murray says he is 'getting closer' to a return but pulls out of his scheduled first grass event of the season at the Libema Open in Holland
June 16, 2018 – After two weeks back on court, Murray announces just before the draw that he will make his comeback at the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen's Club
June 19, 2018 – A lengthy 342 days since his last competitive outing, Murray finally makes it back on court in the Fever-Tree Championships against Nick Kyrgios. He puts up a good fight but eventually loses his first-round match 2-6, 7-6 (7/4) 7-5.
June 25, 2018 – Murray beats Wawrinka at Eastbourne but is then comfortably dispatched in the round of 16 by British No 1 Kyle Edmund as he continues to feel his way back into games
July 30, 2018 – Murray fans grow in confidence at the Scot's increased participation and a run to the quarter-finals – where he is beaten due to a walkover for Alex de Minaur – suggests he is slowly on the rise again
August 13, 2018 – A first round exit to Lucas Pouille shows that Murray is struggling to recapture the form that saw him go on to win Wimbledon twice as his hip issues see him hold back in three-set match
August 30, 2018 - In only his fifth tournament back since returning from hip surgery, Murray falters in four sets against Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the US Open second round as the sweltering conditions did little to help his cause. His noticeable limp between points became more and more obvious as the points rolled on
September 28, 2018 - A quarter-final defeat in Shenzen to Verdasco sees Murray call time on the 2018 season as he takes time away to get himself in the best possible condition for the 2019 Australian Open
December 27, 2018 - Despite some time away since losing to Verdasco in Asia, Murray admits the pain is still prominent as he prepares to play in the Brisbane International, a warm-up tournament for the Australian Open. In his last-16 tie against Russian star Daniil Medvedev, Murray is comfortably beaten 7-5, 6-2 as fears grow over the condition of his hip
January 10, 2019 – Leaves Australian Open press conference in tears and suggests his time in Melbourne could be his last Grand Slam tournament due to the pain being too much to continue playing through