Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut eliminated Andy Murray from the Australian Open with a 6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-4 triumph in the third round on Saturday.
After a slow start, Murray valiantly fought back to draw 1-1 after two sets. But the 35-year-old could not stage another dramatic comeback as Bautista Agut recovered to win the final two sets.
“I feel like I gave everything I had to this event,” Murray said. “So I’m proud of that, and that’s in whatever you’re doing, all you can do.
“You can’t always control the outcome or how well you’re going to play or the result, but you can control the effort you put in, and I put in everything that I had the last three matches, so I’m very proud.
“But I’m also disappointed because I put loads of work into the beginning of this year.”
Former World No. 1 Murray was looking to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinals for the first time in six years.
The three-time Grand Slam winner defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis in a stunning second round match which lasted five hours, 50 minutes, ending at 4:05 a.m. local time to set up his tie with world No. 25 Bautista Agut.
Murray also impressed in his first round victory versus No. 13 seed Matteo Berrettini. He beat the Italian 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (6) in a match lasting four hours, 54 minutes.
Across his three games in Melbourne, Murray played a total of 14 hours, 26 minutes. Murray stated he was “struggling” with his lower back going into the third round tie.
“My legs were actually okay, but I was struggling with my lower back and that was affecting my serve and that was really the main thing that I was struggling with today,” he said.
The result means there are no British competitors left in either Australian Open singles draw after Dan Evans also suffered defeat on Saturday.
Evans, 32, exited the tournament after defeat to Andrey Rublev, the World No. 6 winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
“There were some moments before when I feel there is opportunity to go to semis or even final maybe and, in the end, nothing happened,” Rublev said. “So this time, I just don’t want to even try to think about opportunity or something.”