Updated: January 11, 2019 12:26:41 pm
A tearful Andy Murray announced the Australian Open could be his last tournament due to the hip injury that has derailed his career. The 31-year-old Murray revealed the target in the off-season was to make Wimbledon for a one last run at the home grand slam, where he ended the 77-year drought for British men, but now wasn’t sure he’d make it.
Andy Murray has shocked the tennis world by announcing that the upcoming Australian Open may be his final tournament. The former world No 1 has said he wants to bow out at Wimbledon this summer, but may not be able to continue beyond Melbourne. In an emotional press conference at Melbourne Park on Friday, when he had to leave the room briefly after his first attempt to get it started, and needed to pause several times to compose himself, Murray said he wasn’t sure how much longer he could play.
“I’m going to play (in Australia). I can still play to a level — not a level I’m happy playing at,” he said. “But also, it’s not just that. The pain is too much really,”
The start to Andy Murray’s press conference was very emotional 😢 pic.twitter.com/hObwoj71uo
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 11, 2019
Andy, just watched your conference. Please don’t stop trying. Keep fighting. I can imagine your pain and sadness. I hope you can overcome this. You deserve to retire on your own terms, whenever that happens. We love you @andy_murray and we want to see you happy and doing well. 🙏
— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) January 11, 2019
The three-time Grand Slam winner is scheduled to play his opening round match against No. 22-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut in Melbourne, where he has reached the final five times but never went on to win the title. The season-opening major starts Monday.
Murray had right hip surgery in January 2018 after prolonged concerns with the joint. After two attempts to return to the tour, he played only 12 matches last year.
He got the season underway this year at the Brisbane International, where he won his opening match but lost in the second round to Daniil Medvedev, showing signs of limping between points and struggling to move around smoothly.
Murray has had a celebrated career, breaking long running Grand Slam droughts for British men when he won the US Open in 2012 and at Wimbledon the following year. He also became the only player to win consecutive singles gold medals at the Olympics.
He was considered part of the so-called ‘Big Four’ in men’s tennis with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic — the group of players who dominated the majors. Now it seems likely that he’ll be the youngest of them to go into retirement. At 37, Federer is in Australia attempting to win the title for a third year running and for a seventh time overall. At 31, top-ranked Djokovic is at Melbourne Park also trying to win a seventh Australian title. The 32-year-old Nadal is ranked No. 2 in the world and confident of extending his career for several years despite injury problems of his own.
“I spoke to my team and I told them I can’t keep doing this. I needed to have an end point…”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 11, 2019
Just thinking out loud here. He deserves his moment to say goodbye at Wimbledon. He’s too important to Great Britain and Wimbledon history to not have it….. Would be a pretty cool moment to play doubles w his bro at Wimby if he can’t play singles https://t.co/m7caeL2shX
— andyroddick (@andyroddick) January 11, 2019
You’re the man muzz🙏🏼🙏🏼
— Thanasi Kokkinakis (@TKokkinakis) 11 January 2019
When you search for examples of “emptied the bucket to be as good as they could be” there should be a picture of Andy Murray sitting under that quote. Remarkable discipline for training, competition, sacrifice, perfection, a little crazy 😃 but a legend of a bloke. Bravo Andy 👏
— Darren Cahill (@darren_cahill) 11 January 2019
In his training program last month, Murray told his support group that the pain was becoming too much and that he needed to set a date for retirement. “I spoke to my team and I told that I can’t keep doing this, that I needed to have an end point because (I was) just playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop,” he told the news conference Friday. “I said to my team ‘I think I can get through to Wimbledon’ … that’s where I would like to stop playing. But I’m also not certain I’m able to do that.
“I don’t want to continue playing that way. I’ve tried everything I could to get it right and that hasn’t worked.”
Murray revealed he’s considering another hip operation, more to improve his quality of life than as a way of returning to the top level in tennis.
(With inputs from AP)
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