Johanna Konta has suggested that Andy Murray will continue playing for the foreseeable future, despite his Australian Open defeat to Taro Daniel.
Murray lost 4-6, 4-6, 4-6 on John Cain Arena on Thursday, going out in the second round. Following the match he admitted that losing “does not get any easier”, adding: “When you know you’ve not got many years left it is frustrating.
“I put a lot into the off-season for practising and preparing, hopefully to not play like that in the big tournaments. So it is especially disappointing when you perform like that.”
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Nonetheless, having lost a significant chunk of his career to hip surgeries and then the pandemic, Murray still seems determined to make up for lost time. Reflecting on Murray’s defeat to Taro, Eurosport pundit Konta said: “What we know of Andy is that he expects the best from himself. That’s regardless of what’s going on around.
“He knows himself, so it’s fair for him to do whatever he thinks is fair for him if that makes sense. From the outside, we’re just really happy to see him playing, we’re just really happy to see him out there, so long may that continue.
“It differs in lengths with how hard you take some losses and how long it takes you to recover from them. I think all of them do become easier in time, but obviously it depends how quickly you then move on to your next tournament, your next match.
“He’ll definitely be looking to improve on how he played and what he was doing out on court, and really trying to be better in the next match that he plays.
“To be honest, I would think that we’ll still see Andy next year. However, this conversation [about retirement] has been ongoing for a number of years now for obvious reasons. But I do think Andy Murray will keep playing while Andy Murray wants to keep playing.”
'A positive experience' - Konta evaluates Raducanu's debut campaign at Australian Open
Konta reserved further words of encouragement for another Brit in Emma Raducanu, who also went out in the second round following her 4-6, 6-4, 3-6 loss to Danka Kovinic. Speaking in the Eurosport Cube, Konta said: “I think she has to look back on this Australian Open as a positive experience.
“I think the fact that she had that tough first round against Sloane Stephens and was able to come through that, then also the way that she was able to compete in that second round [was important].
“It’s a positive that she’s on tour and that she’s going to be consistently on tour now. I think that’s what we keep talking about: she needs time in this environment – just that consistent time in this environment – and I think it will all go into the bank of experience.”
Having beaten Raducanu, Kovinic then succumbed to a third-round defeat to Simona Halep. Konta has fond memories of playing against the world No 15, having beaten her in the Wimbledon quarter-finals back in 2017.
“I think Simona always puts herself amongst the favourites to win any tournament that she’s in,” Konta said of the 2018 Australian Open finalist. “She’s such a consistent competitor, a consistent player.
“Also, with her game style, she really invites her opponents to try to beat her, and very few can, so I definitely believe that she’s a favourite for the Australian Open this year.
“I think maybe if there is surprise it’s only in the context of the fact that she’s been away from the game for a little while, she hasn’t played as much. However, if you then look through the recent history of our game it’s not really a surprise.
“She’s been one of the consistent, dominant players at the top of the game in the last 10 years of our sport. So I do not believe it to be a massive surprise that she is now a favourite for winning the title.”
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