Far from Australian Open, Murray falls in final of Italian Challenger event

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Andy Murray
Andy Murray

Former world number one Andy Murray, forced to miss the Australian Open by a positive Covid-19 test, lost the final of the Biella Challenger event in Italy on Sunday.

The Scot, now ranked 125th, lost 6-2, 6-4 to 33-year-old Ukrainian Illya Marchenko, who is ranked 212th, in the hard-court event.

The indoor event in the foothills of the Italian Alps carried a modest overall purse of just under 45,000 euros ($54,000) compared to the $2.1 million on offer to the winner at Melbourne Park, 16,000 km (9,942 miles) away, where Murray had planned to play.

The 33-year-old, a three-time Grand Slam winner (US Open 2012, Wimbledon 2013 and 2016), won four matches to reach the Biella final. There, against an opponent he had beaten at the Australian Open in 2011 and 2017, Murray could not even force a break point in an hour and a half of play.

Murray only played seven official matches in 2020 as he battled a pelvic injury which compromised his attempts to rebuild his career after hip surgery.

Murray, who had initially been given an Australian Open wildcard, was furious at missing the tournament and believes he became infected with Covid-19 at the National Tennis Centre in London, where most of Britain's elite tennis players trained during the pandemic.

He said he was "pretty ill" and had passed the virus onto his wife Kim and their three young children.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
41% - 13239 votes
12% - 4018 votes
19% - 6073 votes
3% - 837 votes
1% - 321 votes
2% - 766 votes
5% - 1645 votes
8% - 2748 votes
4% - 1144 votes
Water sports
1% - 300 votes
American sports
1% - 407 votes
3% - 1096 votes