Andy Murray set to retire due to hip injury: tennis world pays tribute
Scot breaks down after admitting the Australian Open could be his final event
Andy Murray broke down in tears as he faced journalists and admitted that next week’s Australian Open could be the last tournament of his career.
Even if he does manage to fight through the pain of a hip injury, the 31-year-old Scot announced that he will definitely call it quits after Wimbledon this summer.
In an emotional press conference the three-time grand slam winner laid bare the pain he’s endured since undergoing hip surgery last January.
“I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months,” he explained. “I want to get to Wimbledon and stop but I’m not certain I can do that.”
World of pain
Murray expressed his determination to fulfil his first-round match against Spanish 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut next week in Melbourne, but conceded: “I’m not feeling good. I’ve been struggling for a long time. I’ve been in a lot of pain for about 20 months now.
“I’ve pretty much done everything I could to try and get my hip feeling better and it hasn’t helped loads.”
According to BBC Sport, Murray underwent rigorous rehabilitation with renowned sports reconditioning coach Bill Knowles, but the hip hasn’t responded in the manner he had hoped. When he played world No.1 Novak Djokovic in an open practice match this week it was evident he was in trouble.
“I’m in a better place than I was six months ago but I’m still in a lot of pain,” said the two-time Olympic champion. “I can still play to a level, but not a level I have played at.”
Asked about making it through to Wimbledon in July, a tournament he has won twice, Murray said: “I’d like to play until Wimbledon - that’s where I’d like to stop playing - but I’m not certain I’m able to do that.
“I have the option of another operation, which is a little bit more severe, and involves having my hip resurfaced, which would allow me to have a better quality of life and be free of pain.
“That’s something I’m seriously considering now. Some athletes have had it and gone back to competing but there’s no guarantee of that.”
Britain’s Johanna Konta on Murray’s support for women’s tennis: “There have been so many examples of when he has stood up for us, not just for women’s tennis but women in general. He has been blessed with two daughters and he’s grown up with a really strong female role model with his mum as well.”
Germany’s Andrea Petkovic: “He was always my favourite, and I think it will be a huge loss for tennis in general, but also for the WTA. Because even nowadays, when you think everything is equal, you still need men, especially successful men, to speak up for women.”
Ivan Lendl, Murray’s former coach: “As Andy looks to wind down over the coming months, the world of tennis will lose a great competitor, but he will leave a measure of true grit that we all can learn from.”
Chris Evert, former Wimbledon champion: “Andy Murray has been one of the best champions as far as hard-work ethics out there.”
World No.5 Juan Martin del Potro: “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.”
Kim Clijsters, former women’s world No.1: “My heart breaks listening to @andy_murray during his press conference... Hope he will make it through to Wimbledon and have the farewell he deserves.”
Women’s tennis legend Billie Jean King: “You are a champion on and off the court. So sorry you cannot retire on your own terms, but remember to look to the future. Your greatest impact on the world may be yet to come. Your voice for equality will inspire future generations.”
Former US player Andy Roddick: “I tip my cap to @andy_murray! Absolute legend. Short list of best tacticians in history. Unreal results in a brutal era.”