Both Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev have faced some serious setbacks after obtaining injuries during practice in Melbourne. Both players still have some days to recover, but the nature of their injuries are unknown. Therefore, there is a possibility that this could potentially force them to withdraw from the tournament.
The 31-year-old Brit’s chances look slim following a retirement in a practice match against Novak Djokovic on Thursday. Murray’s movement (one of the key aspects of his game) looked severely limited and was unable to chase down many of Djokovic’s shots. He eventually retired after just 49 minutes, losing easily to the World #1, 6-1 4-1. No reasons were given for retiring, but some believe it was more due to the ending of their time slot.
The former World #1 only played 12 matches in 2018 and struggled with injury all year. His issues continued during his first tournament of 2019 in Brisbane, where he lost in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev in the second round. He had hoped to return to Melbourne for the first time since 2017, but at this stage it’s unclear. He is due to face #22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round, which would be a very difficult challenge for the Scotsman.
The German youngster intended to participate in the exhibition tournament World Tennis Challenge on Monday, but withdrew due to injury. He cited a hamstring issue, but said the withdrawal was more for precaution rather than an actual injury. He also appeared very strong in a practice set against Jason Kubler, winning 6-2.
However, things turned for the worse for the German in another practice against Marc Polmans. During a rally, he fell over and stayed on the ground for several moments. He got back up to continue to play, but eventually retired a few minutes later due to a foot injury. If he only retired once, it wouldn’t be so bad as many players want to be fit for the Australian Open, but the fact that he has had two injuries in a row on a similar part of the body shows that there clearly is a problem.
The World #4 is looking to go one better after winning the ATP Finals in London last year and win his first Grand Slam. He is only defending third round points, and will face Aljaz Bedene in the first round. This is his biggest chance to win a Grand Slam yet, but following his successive injuries, it looks increasingly likely that he won’t be able to achieve this.