Murray and Wawrinka at the farewell step of a generation of phenomena

The Scot and the Swiss eliminated in the first round of the Australian Open: was it their last match, in Melbourne?

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Murray and Wawrinka at the farewell step of a generation of phenomena
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

Stan Wawrinka collapsed in the decisive set losing the battle with Adrian Mannarino for 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 0-6 and was eliminated in the first round of the Australian Open 2024: a painful bagel brought the curtain down on his tournament. He, who had sensationally won in Melbourne in 2014 against Rafael Nadal. A few hours later and still on the Kia Arena, Andy Murray, another giant of this tennis era, lived a nightmare day and suffered a clear defeat 4-6, 2-6, 2-6 against Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

Never really in a match, the former ATP No.1 also had to deal with a pain in his groin, an area that he massaged on several occasions hoping for an improvement. But it wasn't enough: he was also out in the first round. He who played 5 finals in Melbourne...

Advancing age, ongoing physical problems: these two great champions seem to have reached the farewell stage of a generation of phenomena. The Fab 5 of this tennis era are falling apart. Wawrinka and Murray, hit by some serious injuries, have battled in recent seasons.

Murray
Murray© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

They also showed a good level, but the professional horizon seems to have now arrived for them. Murray never really got over the very serious hip problem in 2017, and Wawrinka has also been hit by serious injury problems in recent years.

Could 2024 be their last season? Yes definitely. As long as the two are willing to play and compete with old and new rivals, they will be able to move forward, but then there will be the moment of showdown. Their tennis is no longer enough to beat their rivals: this is the feeling you get from these two great champions.

The prophetic words of Murray and Wawrinka

On the eve of the Australian Open, Murray shared words that today seem prophetic.

"If I was in the same situation as at the end of last season, I probably wouldn't continue. But if physically I feel good, the results are good, I'm playing well and enjoying myself, I will be able to continue playing. We'll see how this year goes and how I feel physically. If it goes well, I'd like to continue, but if it doesn't, if the pleasure of playing and training starts to disappear, yes, this could be my last season on the Tour," said Murray

A few days ago Andy Murray made some interesting statements after the defeat against Grigor Dimitrov in Brisbane, when the Scot admitted that he was starting to think about his farewell to tennis.

"I don't know, to be honest, maybe nothing. I understand better what happens when you are Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams, or whoever. Everyone wants to see them for the last time, for me it's probably not the same. When I announce my farewell tour, I'm not sure how many people it will upset...maybe in the UK," he explained.

Even Tim Henman, revealing his doubts about the physical and mental fitness of the Scottish champion. The former world number 4 and now consultant said he would like to see him much more relaxed in what could be one of the last seasons of his glorious career. "At the end of the season, he didn't seem to be enjoying himself on the court. His attitude was not good. At this stage of his career, you don't just want him to get good results, but for him to have fun. He won't play tennis forever. What I want for Andy Murray is to play well, win and have fun. So, yes, I'll keep my fingers crossed," said the Briton.

Even Wawrinka's words, considering his elimination in Melbourne, seem like a prophecy.

"Being part of this generation, with the Big 3 or Big 4 including Andy Murray, definitely pushed me to improve. I had no choice. I needed to push myself beyond my limits. They are the three players who hold all the records of the history of tennis. So obviously it was very difficult. But for me it was always great to have the opportunity to play against them, try to beat them and admire them. I'm happy to be able to play against the younger players.

Wawrinka
Wawrinka© Graham Denholm / Stringer Getty Images Sport
 

They are incredible tennis players. Carlos Alcaraz is a spectacular athlete and it is truly special to watch him play. As I've said several times, I'm a big fan of tennis in general, I really enjoy watching any good player. This generation is interesting and makes me think that the future of tennis is in good hands. Retirement? I don't know, we'll see. As long as I have fun, like I do now, I will continue to play. I feel like I'm still competitive," said Wawrinka.

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