'Legend' Murray can be proud of achievements: Federer

Laura Robson and Andy Murray London 2012

He faces tough opposition from defending champion Roger Federer, while Rafa Nadal aims for his first triumph Down Under since 2009.

"I feel good. If I am not feeling good, I will not be here", Nadal told reporters two days before the start of the first Grand Slam of the year.

Nadal said he was sad to hear another member of tennis fabled "big four", Andy Murray, was to quit tennis this year, possibly as early as next week, with chronic hip pain.

Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka enter the Australian Open unseeded with contrasting injuries having resulted in their layoffs and slumps across the past couple of seasons. That would be gladly accepted.

"You didn't need to be on court to notice that he's struggling, that he's not moving as well as he normally does", said Djokovic, 31, who is just a week younger than Murray. But we're going to lose everybody at some point. Again [it is a case] of not thinking too far ahead.

"When the day arrives I can not do it will be the day to go and do another thing".

"It opened a lot of doors for me".

"What you are trying to do is nothing short of courageous and inspiring".

"I'm pretty sure (that's the case)", said the Japanese star. She's still the favorite with the bookmakers, but with so many Grand Slam champions in the field, nothing is guaranteed.

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There's no question Australia agrees with Federer.

Murray's retirement also perhaps makes Federer more aware that the era of the "Big Four" - himself, Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal - is closer to its end. "I don't feel ready, the rest of my body feels ideal". I work extremely hard in the matches as well - it just maybe doesn't come across so much. We shared the court in the most important stadiums in the world, competing for the most important things. I really appreciate what he's done for women's tennis. "Les Petite As". First time we met and played. I like that about our matches with him. "If you look at how unlucky things were with the incident here a few years ago when I ran the bath, I guess the knee, that part of the body was ready to go". Everything I've done past year made me be more relaxed.

"I hope you can overcome this".

But when the time does come to take stock, Murray will be able to look back on a groundbreaking career that, eventually, earned him the hero-level status he always deserved from British sports fans. We like him. He doesn't have many enemies, to be quite honest. My goal was always to play for as long as possible because I have a lot of passion for this sport. "Well, if being a feminist is about fighting so that a woman is treated like a man then yes, I suppose I have".

"I'm playing good tennis".

Djokovic said he was proud of the kind of relationship he and Murray had fostered, and he was sorry to see his friend set to leave the tour. "Today it was not easy to manage all the emotions I had on court".

"I played great in singles and in mixed". That's where I'd like to stop playing. And as an extension of that - his team knowing when enough is enough.

Istomin had a shocking second-round win over Djokovic here in 2017 on his way to the fourth round, and Federer is wary of the Uzbek veteran after also meeting him in the first round here in '06.

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