Andy Murray says he will be content if his five-set thriller against Spain's Roberto Bautista-Agut is his final tennis match.
The emotional champion was on multiple occasions reduced to tears on Monday night as he made an unforgettable final appearance at Melbourne Park — but there were no tears in his likely final ever media conference as he maintained a ray of hope he could yet return in 2020.
Earlier, Murray was spotted wiping away tears when he was stopped from beginning his service game at 5-1 down in the fifth set by a raucous standing ovation from the Melbourne Arena crowd.
The unrehearsed tribute ahead of Murray's likely final service game at Melbourne Park was pure, cinematic, sporting emotion, reducing the battle-hardened 32-year-old to tears as well as his mum, Judy Murray, who was spotted crying when standing behind brother Jamie in Andy's players box.
Murray went on to hold his serve before his opponent served out their four-hour epic 6-4 6-4 7-6 7-6 6-2 with his next service game.
Murray explained the emotional scenes inside Melbourne Arena as something that has never happened for him before.
"I mean, obviously that moment, I was emotional at that moment," he said in his post-match press conference.
"It was cool. I don't think I've had that before in any matches. I don't know if when I came to serve at Wimbledon for Wimbledon, I don't know if that happened. Look, it was brilliant.
"The atmosphere the whole match was amazing. I loved it. I'm really appreciative that the people gave me that atmosphere to play in. Yeah, I really enjoyed it."
He suggested the atmosphere was so perfect in his eyes that he is more likely to opt against career-saving surgery because he would be comfortable going out in the way the Aussie Open cheered him to the finish line.
"If today was my last match, look, it was a brilliant way to finish, as well. That's something that I'll probably take into consideration," he said.
"It was an amazing atmosphere. I literally gave everything that I had on the court, fought as best as I could, and performed a lot better than what I should have done without the amount I've been able to practice and train, you know, whatever. I'd be okay with that being my last match."
The emotion stopped when it came time to outline how he will decide in the next few weeks if he will go ahead with hip surgery that will end his career immediately or if he will try to rest up for one final appearance at Wimbledon.
"I have basically like two options," he said.
"One is to take the next four and a half months off, then build up, you know, play Wimbledon. Look, I mean, although tonight was not comfortable in terms of my hip. At the end, I mean, I'm really struggling. I can't walk properly at all just now.
"I could play another match, but if I want to try to play again, I want to improve my quality of life, because even if I take four months, I still can't walk. I'm still in pain doing just basic day-to-day things. But having an operation like that, there's absolutely no guarantees I'd be able to play again. I'm fully aware of that.
"It's a really big operation. There's no guarantees that you can come back from that. But there is the possibility, because guys have done it before. Bob Bryan is doing it just now. Some other athletes have given it a go. But, like I said, there's no guarantees. That's kind of the decision I have to make, that possibility of not having one more match by having the operation.
"I'll probably decide in the next week or so. But that's what I was saying the other day, that this might be my last match. If I go ahead with the operation, I don't recover well from it, then I don't play again. I'm aware of that. That is the decision that I have to make."
Even in defeat Andy Murray was warmly welcomed into the Australian Open history books one final time with a player montage of tributes from his fellow tennis stars across the ATP and WTA Tours.
Despite the tribute, Murray quickly took some of the emotion out of the festivities by declaring he has not given up yet on returning in 12 months.
"I've honestly loved playing here over the years. It's an amazing place to play. If this was my last match as you say, amazing way to end. I gave everything I had," he said.
"I don't know, maybe I'll see you again. I'll do everything possible to try.
"If I want to go again I'll need to have a massive operation so there's no guarantees but I'll give it my best shot."