There was only likely to be one main story on the opening day of the 2019 Australian Open.
After Andy Murray announced ahead of the tournament that the Melbourne Grand Slam could be his swan song, all eyes were on his first-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday.
It was almost everything the tennis world could have asked for as Murray rallied from two sets down to force a decider.
But it was not to be for the Scot. His body caught up with him in the fifth, and No. 22 seed Agut prevailed 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (4-7), 6-2 after four hours and nine minutes.
Elsewhere in the men's draw, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer made predictably light work of their first-round opponents, James Duckworth and Denis Istomin, respectively.
In the women's draw, Maria Sharapova lay down a marker with a 6-0, 6-0 mauling of Great Britain's Harriet Dart.
Meanwhile, defending champion Caroline Wozniacki beat Belgium's Alison Van Uytvanck, and No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber downed Polona Hercog.
Selected Monday Results
(2) Rafael Nadal bt. James Duckworth: 6-4, 6-3, 7-5
(3) Roger Federer bt. Denis Istomin: 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
(6) Marin Cilic bt. Bernard Tomic: 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (3)
(5) Kevin Anderson bt. Adrian Mannarino: 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
(22) Roberto Bautista Agut bt. Andy Murray: 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-7 (4-7), 6-2
Reilly Opelka bt. (9) John Isner: 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5)
(30) Maria Sharapova bt. Harriet Dart: 6-0, 6-0
(2) Angelique Kerber bt. Polona Hercog: 6-2, 6-2
(3) Caroline Wozniacki bt. Alison Van Uytvanck: 6-3, 6-4
(5) Sloane Stephens bt. Taylor Townsend: 6-4, 6-2
(9) Kiki Bertens bt. Alison Riske: 6-3, 6-3
Full results can be found at the Australian Open's official website.
The packed Melbourne Arena was treated to the Murray of old at times on Monday, but his injury issues became apparent late on when the intensity of Agut's play proved too much for the three-time Grand Slam champion.
It was a heroic performance from the Scot, who early on looked like he might bow out with a straight-sets loss as Agut took a 2-0 lead after pouncing at the opportune moments in the opening exchanges.
But, to the delight of the crowd, Murray responded with some of his best tennis, showing many of the qualities that have made him a legend: his incredible returning, delicate net play and dogged refusal to give up on shots.
It was not to be, and that was perhaps for the better. By the end, Murray did not look like a man who could play a second-round match, although he did leave the door ajar for a return to Melbourne Park:
Agut deservedly prevailed having battled both a resurgent Murray and a distinctly partisan crowd. The Spaniard will face Australia's John Millman in the second round.
Nadal's second-round opponent will be another home player, Matthew Ebden.
The Spaniard was in action for two hours, 15 minutes against Duckworth, who put up a decent fight without ever looking like he'd cause an upset.
Duckworth actually edged Nadal for winners, hitting 40 to the Spaniard's 38. But his 40 unforced errors to Nadal's 11 made the difference as the Australian was forced to go for every line.
It is a cruel fate to receive a match with Nadal in the opening round of a Grand Slam, and the same can be said for drawing Federer, who improved his remarkable first-round record in Melbourne by beating Istomin:
Federer's first set won it, as he gave the Uzbek no hope by coming out of the blocks at top speed.
He hit seven aces and 17 winners as he took a 1-0 lead inside half an hour, and although Istomin improved noticeably as the match wore on, the Swiss never looked wobbly.
Sharapova opened the action on Rod Laver Arena with perhaps the most brutal performance of the day. She saw off Dart in just 63 minutes to leave the 22-year-old Briton in tears:
Kerber required a little longer to see off Hercog but not by much.
The 2016 Australian Open champion claimed four breaks in her 72 minutes on court, while her 15 unforced errors paled into insignificance next to her Slovenian opponent's 41.
American Sloane Stephens was another big name in action in the women's draw.
She downed compatriot Taylor Townsend 6-4, 6-2. Her first-serve percentage of 80 proved crucial as she set up a second-round match against Hungary's Timea Babos.