It may only have been a practice match, but Andy Murrays display against the world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in front of a half full Margaret Court Arena crowd provided fresh concern regarding the Scots ability to compete at the Australian Open.
Just a matter of hours before the draw is unveiled at Melbourne Park, Murray took to court against his old foe in a bid to prepare himself for match conditions ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year, but his showing was troubling.
This is a match-up that has been the final of this tournament on four previous occasions – its safe to say it wont be the final of the 2019 edition down under.
It could instead be a first round encounter, with Murray unseeded for the event, and the former world No. 1 will be praying to avoid Djokovic when the draw emerges later on Thursday.
After todays showing, it wouldnt be a complete surprise if Murray wasnt involved in the draw at all!
In their allocated time slot, Murray held serve just once in a 6-1 4-1 thrashing from the top seed, with Djokovic barely coming out of first gear.
He landed just 49% of his first serves in, winning a total of eight points on serve.
After the match concluded, Murray sat at the side of the court frantically waving his hands in frustration as he dissected a disappointing afternoon with his team.
There was the odd moment of quality from the 31-year-old, who still strikes a sweet ball, and he looked close to the Murray of old during a point at the end of the first set, darting to and fro several feet behind the baseline to retrieve some heavy Djokovic shots.
However, the pained limp that followed that point – a limp that followed many other points during a warm Melbourne afternoon – continues to provide a worrying backdrop to his comeback.
Murray hasnt lost his sense of humour during his recovery and cracked a witty one-liner as Djokovic conceded a point to a winner that had been called out by the line judge.
You wouldnt have done that if it was the final! Murray belted out with a smile to his great rival.
Seeing Murray in the final in two weeks time would be nothing short of a miracle and an Instagram post from a matter of days ago appeared to concede defeat in his hopes of coming back and having a sixth crack at winning an Australian Open final.
He wrote: The closest Ill ever get to the Aussie open trophy #5timeloser
Its a depressing thought that one of Britains greatest athletes is limping out with a whimper.
But on todays evidence, its hard to see any other conclusion to Murrays career.