Future uncertain for Scots ace
Injury forces Murray out of Australian Open
Andy Murray: retirement may be looming
Andy Murray announced this morning that he will not compete in the Australian Open, confirming fears that his hip injury continues to blight his return to competitive action.
The 30-year-old Scot flew out of Brisbane to Melbourne, suggesting he was ready to take his place in the first Grand Slam of the season which starts on Monday week.
But he later boarded a flight for London and looks set for an operation which could keep him out of the game for several months.
Murray remained defiantly optimistic that he will recover and return to the game but he will now be contemplating possible retirement, given the impact of back, ankle and now hip injuries which have affected his performance.
In a brief statement he said: “Sadly I won’t be playing in Melbourne this year, as I am not yet ready to compete. I’ll be flying home shortly to assess all the options but I appreciate all the messages of support and I hope to be back playing soon.”
Tournament organiser Craig Tiley said: “We are fully aware that Andy has been going through a difficult period with his hip and that he’s done everything possible to prepare for the Australian summer. Andy loves tennis and would do anything to play.
“This is a very hard decision for Andy and we totally respect it. We wish him the absolute best on his road to recovery and look forward to having him back in Melbourne. He is a true champion and one of our favourites.”
This time last year Murray was world No1 after driving himself through 24 unbeaten matches at the end of 2016.
His absence since Wimbledon last July has seen his ranking tumble to 16 and he will drop at least a further two places on Monday.
He played in a charity exhibition match against Roger Federer in Glasgow, losing 6-3 3-6 10-6 to the current Australian Open Champion.
His most recent match was a one-set exhibition match against Roberto Bautista Agut in Abu Dhabi last week.
He announced his withdrawal from the Brisbane tournament yesterday and admitted that surgery was an option he preferred to reject.
Kei Nishikori has also withdrawn from the Australian Open while Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka are among those carrying injuries.
Murray will now consider where 2018 will take him and whether it signals the end of a glittering career.
He is already putting the building blocks in place for a life beyond the court. He is investing some of his millions from the game in start-up businesses through the Seedrs crowdfunding platform. His sports management company 77 Sports has just signed the promising Katie Swan to a small roster of young athletes.
In a statement issued via Murray’s management team he said: “Katie is a player I’ve been watching for a while. She’s got great potential and has already had some good results. I’m hoping we can offer support to her in areas on and off the court and complement the team she has in place already.”