Andy Murray may well be playing his last ever professional tennis match on Monday. He will to the court at the Australian Open in what is his last appearance in Melbourne.
The Brit tearfully announced that he was having to retire from the sport, due to an ongoing hip injury. He wants to play his last event at Wimbledon, but is unsure he can continue that long.
The announcement was made before the first day order of play had been decided. The obvious decision was to put the Brit on Rod Laver Arena, the event’s premier court.
The organisers and schedulers all know that the match on Monday could be the last for the former World No. 1 and three-time Slam champion.
To put Murray anywhere other than Rod Laver, knowing it could be the last match the Brit ever plays, is wrong. Would they put Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, or Novak Djokovic on any other court if they were retiring? Of course they wouldn’t.
Murray may not have won the Australian Open. The Brit made the final five times–a record among non-champions. Can you imagine Wimbledon, Roland Garros or the US Open scheduling a member of the “Big Four” anywhere but centre court?
When Federer, Nadal or Djokovic decide to retire, you can know that whichever event they use as the swan song will give them centre court–and likely every other even during their final year.
Better Swan song
Murray deserves better. If the Australian Open match on Monday is the last ever played, it needs to be on Rod Laver. It is disgusting that the match is on Melbourne Arena (formerly known as Hisense).
This would not happen in Melbourne if it were Federer, Nadal, or Djokovic. The question therefore is why has Murray not been given Rod Laver.
Federer has the night match on Rod Laver; Murray at least has a night match. Brits can watch at a reasonable time. However, it is the choice of arena that is disgraceful.
A five-time finalist not on the main court possibly in their last ever match. That is what grinds. Yes, Federer is the defending champion so rightly should open on Laver. However the Swiss has been given the night match again; he could play earlier.
If it were Wimbledon, the defending men’s champion always starts on centre court, and they are the first match on the opening day.
If Federer was to be retiring, he would rightly be given centre court every match this tournament. Whoever the defending Champion would open on the court, but Federer would follow and be on that court.
How can the Australian Open treat Murray this way, it is an utter disgrace? It is a joke that the Brit has not been given Rod Laver as potentially his swan song. Murray hopes to finish at Wimbledon, however he is realistic and admits that Monday could in fact be the last match.
This alone deserves to be on Rod Laver. Murray may be able to get to Wimbledon; however, from the distraught nature of the press conference, it could unlikely. Wimbledon would treat Murray the right way.
If he cannot continue until The Championships, hopefully Wimbledon will allow an exhibition style match for the Brit. Against whoever he wants, on Centre Court, with fans present to give him the goodbye he deserves.
Australian Open take heed. Move the Murray match to Rod Laver Arena.