MELBOURNE • World No. 2 Andy Murray revealed yesterday that he would not have continued playing at the Australian Open if his father-in-law's health had deteriorated following his collapse at Rod Laver Arena.
Nigel Sears, who is the coach of Ana Ivanovic, fell ill during the Serb's third-round match against Madison Keys on Saturday and was taken to hospital. He was discharged on Sunday and cleared to return to Britain.
Murray, who was playing his own third-round match on the adjacent Margaret Court Arena, was oblivious to Sears' collapse until afterwards and rushed straight to hospital following his victory.
The 28-year-old Briton plans to leave Melbourne if his pregnant wife Kim goes into labour early and he said after his fourth-round win over Bernard Tomic on Monday that the same would have applied if Sears' condition had worsened.
"Obviously it depended on Nigel's health," Murray said after booking a place in the quarter-finals against Spain's David Ferrer with a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) win over the 16th-seeded Tomic.
"If the news was not positive, then, no, there was absolutely no chance I would have kept playing."
He returned to Melbourne Park on Sunday to resume practice, having spent a few hours with Sears. The incident had shaken him up, he said, but he said he was pleased his 58-year-old father-in-law was on his way home.
"It was a tough few days. Certainly wasn't straightforward," said Murray, who had 18 aces and 43 winners during the straight-set win.
"Just glad that he's on his way home now and can be back with his family."
Murray said he felt "drained" yesterday after expecting to find some sanctuary on the court, while the incident still affected him throughout the match against Tomic.
Several times he was talking to - and chastising - himself for the way he was playing, which used a lot of energy and he found himself going through a roller-coaster of emotions.
"Certainly I was trying to just concentrate on the match when I was out there, but it's been a hard, hard few days," said the four-time runner-up at Melbourne Park.
"I just can't believe something like that happened. It's ...very, very scary."