Andy Murray’s wife and number one fan Kim Sears stayed at home to look after their two young children today as he crashed out of the Australian Open in what could be his last match before retiring.
Speculation had been growing about why the 31-year-old illustrator was not in the stands in Melbourne – unlike Murray’s mother Judy, 59, and older brother Jamie, 32, who cannot normally sit through Andy’s matches.
But this evening a source close to the family told MailOnline Ms Sears was at home with the couple’s two young daughters, Sophia, two and Edie, one.
Andy Murray attends the Wimbledon Champions Dinner in July 2016 with his wife Kim Sears
Ms Sears cheers on her tennis star husband Murray at the US Open in New York last August
Ms Sears has travelled across the world to support her boyfriend-turned-husband from the sidelines.
Her recent appearances over the past two years include at the US Open in New York last August, Wimbledon in July 2017 and the Australian Open in January 2017.
She has attended the Australian Open in many previous years, and in 2015 appeared to swear during Murray’s match against Tomas Berdych at the same tournament.
She allegedly said: ‘F***ing have that you Czech flash f***.’ Murray then joked after being made a Sir two years ago that she could not swear during matches any more.
The couple live in a lavish £5million six-bedroom house in the exclusive Surrey town of Oxshott along with two border terriers, Maggie May and Rusty.
Ms Sears and Murray, who met in 2005 at the US Open when she was just 17 and Murray 18, dated for nine years before getting engaged in 2014.
They married in 2015 at Dunblane Cathedral, with the reception held at the nearby Cromlix House hotel which Murray had bought for £1.8million in 2013.
Murray in action at the Australian Open match against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut today
Murray’s brother Jamie and mother Judy watch from the sidelines in Melbourne today
Murray previously described the birth of his first child with Ms Sears – the daughter of player-turned-coach Nigel Sears – in February 2016 as ‘the best moment of my life’.
He later admitted in July that year that ‘for the first time ever, tennis is probably more of a distraction from my home life than the other way around’.
However, he is saddened that his girls will probably never see him play professionally – and regrets how trying to wring everything out of himself led him to over-train.
He said: ‘For sure I would have been OK if I’d played a little bit less, taken a few more days off, spent a bit more time resting. Right now, it’s something that frustrates me.’
Murray posted a photograph on Instagram with his mother Judy last Friday, but has not mentioned Ms Sears in any recent social media posts.
Ms Sears goes through all the emotions watching Murray at Wimbledon in London in July 2017
Ms Sears (right) and Judy Murray (left) support the star at the Australian Open in January 2017
Ms Sears cheers at Wimbledon in July 2016 (left) and the US Open in September 2016 (right)
He did however pay tribute to ‘everyone, my team, my family, and everyone that’s contributed to my tennis career’ in an emotional interview after today’s match.
Today, it emerged Murray will decide in the next week whether to have a second hip operation following his dramatic five-set defeat to 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut.
Murray, who announced on Friday that he is planning to retire from the game this year, threatened a miracle but was ultimately beaten 6-4 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-7 (4) 6-2.
His hopes were not high given the state of his right hip but it was still a fighting performance for a man who admits he struggles to put his shoes and socks on.
The capacity crowd roared Murray on and dared to dream of a miracle as he defied the pain to force a deciding set before the effort finally became too much.
Andy Murray and his then-fiance Kim Sears at London Fashion Week in September 2012
Judy Murray and the star’s then-girlfriend Ms Sears at the Australian Open in January 2007
Murray kisses Ms Sears after beating Lleyton Hewitt in a match in San Jose in February 2006
The tournament had prepared a montage of Murray’s fellow players paying tribute to him, but he said he would do all he could to play at the Australian Open again.
If he is to do so, Murray must have a resurfacing operation, which could end up giving him another chance on court but could also finish his career for good.
If he decides not to have the operation yet, then he will aim to play on the grass, finishing off his career at the Wimbledon Championships in South West London.
A representative for Murray did not return a request for comment by MailOnline.