Andy Murray’s run at Australian Open ends

Andy Murray

MELBOURNE, Australia — Andy Murray evened his Australian Open match at a set apiece and stood in a corner of Margaret Court Arena with his hands on his hips, staring up into the stands, where spectators were jumping and screaming, pumping their arms and waving blue-and-white Scottish flags.

All of those fans, and Murray himself, could have been excused in that moment for thinking, “Here we go again!”

Except there would be no five-set thriller this time for Murray and his many backers. No after-midnight finish. No classic comeback. And no victory. No, the wear-and-tear of Murray’s two previous unending, unyielding, performances simply took too much out of his 35-year-old body and metal hip, leaving him with more than a half-dozen blisters and an aching lower back during a 6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4 loss to Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round Saturday night.

“You can’t always control the outcome. You can’t control how well you’re going to play or the result. You can control the effort that you put into it, and I gave everything that I had the last three matches. I’m very proud of that,” said Murray, a five-time finalist at Melbourne Park and the owner of three Grand Slam titles from elsewhere. “But, yeah, I’m also disappointed.”


This match ended a minute shy of 3 1/2 hours, which seemed rather short and sweet when compared to Murray’s exhausting trek that took more than 10 1/2 hours earlier in the week: He beat 13th-seeded Matteo Berrettini in a five-setter in the first round on Tuesday, then eliminated Thanasi Kokkinakis in another five-setter in the second round that began on Thursday night and concluded a little after 4 a.m. on Friday.

Murray then slept from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., showed up at the tournament site to get his blisters drained, and returned to his hotel for a nap, before getting on court to hit for just 15 minutes or so.

He got off to a slow start against Bautista Agut on Saturday, made a strong push to grab the second set, and faded down the stretch. When the match was over, Murray was given quite a send-off.

“Today (there) was a lot love of for Andy,” the 24th-seeded Bautista Agut said afterward. “I think maybe next round, a little bit more for me.”

These two had played six times previously, including Bautista Agut’s win at the Australian Open in 2019, a year after Murray had his first of two hip operations — and days after he tearfully acknowledged he thought he was on the verge of retirement.

After that loss to Bautista Agut, a video tribute to Murray was played in the stadium, and he himself uttered the words, “If today was my last match …”

Not much later came Murray’s second procedure, this one to fit him with an artificial hip, and he eventually returned to the tour.

In the time since, he has wondered aloud whether the work it takes to be competitive now is worth it. After Saturday’s loss, he was asked how moments such as those this week make him feel.

“I would like to go out playing tennis like this, where I’m competing with the best players in the world in the biggest events and doing myself justice. There were maybe times, the last year or so, where I didn’t really feel like I was playing well, and I didn’t enjoy the way that I was playing,” said Murray, whose exit Saturday leaves Novak Djokovic as the lone major champion still in the men’s field.

At this Australian Open, though, he explained: “It’s more enjoyable for me when I’m playing like that, when I’m coming into a major event and really believing that I can do some damage.”

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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss


One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.


Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

Mark McMorris

Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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