Andy Murray
Andy Murray may have played his last ever match at the Australian Open after exiting in the first round of this year's tournament. Tracey Nearmy/Reuters

Andy Murray has had his 2024 Australian Open campaign come to a swift end after being beaten 6-4 6-2 6-2 by Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the first round on Monday.

It was a tough affair for Murray in Melbourne as his performance levels looked well below par for the majority of the contest. The 36-year-old now looks to be nearing retirement from tennis after nearly two decades as a professional in the sport.

The Scotsman showed glimpses of his past quality in the opening set against Etcheverry as he recovered from an opening game break to regain his serve. Murray even had the chance to move 4-2 in front, but he could not take advantage of the opportunity presented to him as his attempt fell short.

His Argentinian opponent capitalised as he landed another break and went on to take the first set. From there on, Murray appeared to be struggling to get his game to flow properly, with his serve hindering him massively, leading Etcheverry to take firm control of the contest.

Also, unforced errors began to set Murray back and his hopes of making any sort of run at this year's Australian Open began to fade away. Etcheverry sealed the second and third set with relative ease and now moves on to the second round.

For Murray, this continues a poor run of form across multiple tournaments as it is four defeats in a row and seven losses in eight for him.

The loss to Etcheverry will come as a huge disappointment for the Scotsman as he was able to get to the third round in Melbourne last year, where he triumphed in two five-set matches and showed he could still operate at a relatively high level.

Since getting hip surgery in 2018, it has been a big struggle for Murray to replicate the form that made him regularly reach the latter stages of Grand Slam tournaments and become the world's top-ranked men's player.

After the loss, Murray hinted that he may not feature at the Australian Open again. He said: "It's a definite possibility that will be the last time I play here. I think probably because of how the match went and everything. In comparison to the matches that I played here last year, it's the complete opposite feeling walking off the court."

Murray then hinted that his playing days could soon be over altogether. The three-time Grand Slam winner stated: "I have an idea of when I would probably like to finish playing. So much of that depends on how you're playing. The timeframe for that narrows when you play and have results like today."

Elsewhere, the opening round of this year's Australian Open saw both the defending men's and women's singles champions come out on top when the tournament began on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic survived a minor scare against 18-year-old Croatian qualifier, Dino Prizmic, to begin his defence in Melbourne with a 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4 victory. The match took Djokovic just over four hours to pick up the victory, making it the longest opening-round match at a Grand Slam in his career.

The Serbian is on the hunt to win his 11th Australian Open title this year and his 25th Grand Slam overall. A potential third-round clash between Djokovic and Murray was on the cards at the tournament but the latter's early exit rules that out now.

Aryna Sabalenka had nothing to worry about at the start of her title defence as she raced to a 6-0 6-1 win over 18-year-old German qualifier, Ella Seidel. The Belarusian's first-round win was impressive as it took her just 53 minutes to complete.

Matches on Monday saw last year's men's finalist, Stefanos Tsitsipas, have to come from a set down to beat Zizou Bergs 5-7 6-1 6-1 6-3.

Also, two-time runner-up, Daniil Medvedev, advanced to the second round after being handed a walkover in his match against Terence Atmane. Medvedev recovered from losing the first set 7-5 by winning the following two sets 6-2 6-4 before Atmane retired with cramp in the fourth set as Medvedev was leading 1-0.

Last year's US Open women's singles champion, Coco Gauff, advanced to the second round with a 6-3 6-0 win over Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

Two-time winner at the Australian Open, Naomi Osaka, suffered a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) first-round loss to Caroline Garcia in what was her first appearance at a Grand Slam since 2022, as she was on maternity leave last year.