Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic pay tribute to Andy …

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have added their homage to the flood of support for Andy Murray while the Scot is preparing for what could be his last professional tennis match.

Murray will face Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday before choosing the best next action for his injured right hip.

It was a practice match against Djokovic who on Thursday exposed the seriousness of Murray's ongoing battle and led to the emotional announcement of his upcoming retirement the next day.

Djokovic did not even seem to be fully on tilt despite losing only two games, but he insisted he did not take it easy.

"It was very clear to everyone, you saw it, you did not have to stand on the field, to notice that it is difficult for him not to move as well as he normally does," Djokovic said.

"We have seen that so many years Andy Murray is one of the strongest guys in the tour, who walks around the field and always gets an extra ball back, which I think is comparable to that.

"Our trajectory to the professional tennis world was pretty much the same: his birthday is a week for mine, we've grown together during youth events, and we have played many epic matches in the professional circuit.

"It is clear that he is wrestling so much and experiencing so much pain, it is very sad and it hurts me as his old friend, colleague, rival."

Andy Murray, right, struggled Thursday during an exhibition game against Novak Djokovic (Mark Baker / AP)

Andy Murray, right, struggled Thursday during an exhibition game against Novak Djokovic (Mark Baker / AP)

Djokovic placed a tribute on Instagram to a man he knew since they first faced each other as 13-year-olds in 2001, and concluded: "No matter what happens, I will always cherish our great games and be grateful for those experiences. "

Murray's hip problem flared up for the first time at the French Open in 2017, during which the Scotsman broke the next January.

At the end of 2017, Federer participated in Murray's charity exhibition in Glasgow and remembers how much the triple grand slam champion struggled.

"I know how bad he was," said Federer. "I could not believe he really played, but it was for charity.

"I suspect everyone can understand where he comes from." At some point, when you think you can never get 100%, you've had the success that Andy had, you can only understand the decision.

"I was disappointed and sad, a bit startled, to know now that we will lose him at a given moment, I hope he can play a good Australian Open and that he can continue to play, really finish as he wants Wimbledon.

"Of course it touches us top people because we know Andy very well We like him He is a good guy, Hall of Famer, legend He won everything he wanted to win Everyone would replace their career with his.

"It's a tough one, but one on the road he looks back on and incredibly proud of everything he has achieved."

Murray has never dropped a set against the sandy Spaniard Bautista Agut, but admitted that he is physically so bad that he expects to lose.

He told newspaper reporters: "I know I do not have a chance to win this tournament and I will probably lose in the first round, I'm not happy about that, and because of the way the last six months of competitions went, I could win, but I probably will not do that, it will become uncomfortable.

"If it's my last game, I want to try and enjoy it – enjoy the whole experience, which may be something I did not do during my career, I've always been focused on tactics and winning and finding a way. "

As for the sequel, Murray is considering an operation to undergo his hip again. He insisted on quality of life on Friday and not on a comeback, not even in his mind, but he talked to other players who followed the same procedure.

Roberto Bautista Agut could be the last professional opponent of Murray (John Walton / PA)

Roberto Bautista Agut could be the last professional opponent of Murray (John Walton / PA)

Roberto Bautista Agut could be the last professional opponent of Murray (John Walton / PA)

Murray has interests of the court and a young family, but admits: "Once I started thinking about quitting, all the things that I thought I really wanted to do, I have no interest at all.

"Thinking about what I do when I'm done playing and making decisions – talking to psychologists – is the worst thing I should do.

"It will take time for me to deal with it, I need time to get over it and then to know what my next steps will be, I know that will be difficult, I love tennis, I love playing the game. "

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