“I don’t like this bye-bye part,” the 2005 champion said with a shrug.
“It’s just a sad story. It’s not for me. I prefer to leave this way, quietly, nice, with a great match.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t do better than that, three sets.
“But anyway, I lost today probably to the better player, one of the greatest ones in the history of tennis. I really hope for him to be so I can tell the story to my kids that I played with him. I think it’s a nice story.
“He’s the most complete tennis player in the history of tennis, that’s for sure. With all due respects to (Andre) Agassi and (Pete) Sampras and the rest of the gang. But I never felt so uncomfortable against any of the players before.”
The former world number one was drawn on his fond memories of the first grand slam of the year.
“I had some ups and downs here,” he said.
“One disappointment. Another great year. One final against Roger. And then one title I took here beating also Roger and (Lleyton) Hewitt.
“So I’ve been playing some great tennis. So just the whole thing, the whole setup. The beautiful city, great people.
“It’s always nice to come here every year, year after year. Unfortunately, I doubt it’s going to ever happen again.
“I’ve been already too many years. I want to change and do something else. I’m ready for that.
“It’s been a nice trip. It’s enough.”
Thanks for the memories, Marat
Definitely featured in a lot of my favourite Aussie Open moments.