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Scot fights back tears

Murray to retire from tennis due to ongoing hip injury

 

Heartbroken Andy MurrayHeartbroken: Former world No. 1 Andy Murray was in tears as he admitted he is ready to concede defeat in his long battle with injury


 

Andy Murray had to fight back tears as he revealed he may be forced to retire after next week’s Australian Open.

The Scot is in Melbourne preparing for the tournament which begins on Monday but the former world No. 1 conceded it could be his last event as he struggles to recover from hip surgery a year ago in the same city. He said he was even finding it painful to put on his shoes and socks.

Ideally the former Wimbledon champion would like to call it a day at the All England Club this summer but has real concerns he won’t make it that far.

Speaking at Melbourne Park ahead of his first round match against 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut from Spain, an emotional Murray said he was still battling severe pain in his right hip and that this could well be his farewell to competitive tennis.

“I think there’s a chance of that, yeah for sure,” he said. “I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months.

“Wimbledon is where I would like to stop playing but I am not certain I am able to do that.

“The pain is too much really. I don’t want to continue playing that way.”

The three-time Grand Slam winner has slipped to a world ranking of 230 since losing to Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarter-final in 2017, when his injury first came to prominence.

Murray has won over $58 million US dollars in prize money and has invested in start-up businesses as well as a hotel in Scotland. He has been very popular in the locker room and with the wider public who came to accept his early grumpiness and appreciate his sense of humour, commitment and perhaps most of all, his integrity. He has spoken up for gender equality, including chastising the media, and has been a role model for young people.

His injury may have cut short a career that could have lasted another few years, but he admitted that it has plagued him for some time. His retirement is a disappointment, but not a surprise. Former Australia number one Lleyton Hewitt never returned to the height of his power after undergoing hip surgery.




Murray reached the pinnacle of his career in 2016 with a season-ending win against Novak Djokovic at that year’s ATP World Tour Finals. It was his 25th consecutive win in a hectic and heavily-energised drive that ensured the first British man to reach the top ranking would end the year as the world number on on the final day of the official season.

However, that surge to the top of the sport might have cost Murray the longevity that many of his ageing peers, led by the imperious 37-year-old Roger Federer, now enjoy.

His retirement is a personal blow but will also leave a huge gap in the tennis world. While there has been encouraging progress in developing players such as Kyle Edmund, currently British number one, few would bet on Britain producing another player of Murray’s stature any time soon.

Career

  • 2004 – Wins US Open Boys’ Singles title, beating Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4 6-2
  • 2005 – Turns professional
  • 2006 – Wins first ATP title in California; becomes British number one
  • 2008 – Reaches first Grand Slam final at US Open
  • 2009 – First British winner at Queen’s since 1938 • 2010 – Reaches first Slam final at Australian Open
  • 2011 – Reaches second Australian Open final
  • 2012 – Wins maiden Grand Slam at US Open and Olympic singles gold; reaches Wimbledon final
  • 2013 – Wins Wimbledon title; first British champion since 1936; reaches Australian Open final
  • 2015 – Helps Great Britain win Davis Cup; reaches fourth Australian Open final; ends year as world number two
  • 2016 – Tops world rankings; becomes Wimbledon champion again and defends Olympic title; reaches fifth Australian Open final; won a record fifth Queen’s Club championship
  • 2017 – Defeated in quarter final at Wimbledon suffering hip injury; ends year as world number 16
  • 2018 – Pulls out of Australian Open and has hip surgery; makes just six competitive appearances

Collecting the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award 2016

Reaction

Neil Lennon, Hibs manager: “Andy Murray is an inspiration and a role model. He’s been the ideal mentor to Fraser Murray and Ryan Porteous. I hope he’s able to finish an incredible career on his terms. Everyone at Hibernian Football Club is rooting for him.”

Justin Rose on Instagram: What a career @andymurray keep it going as everybody wants to watch you @wimbledon in July mate

British number two Heather Watson on Instagram: “Keep fighting Andy, you’re got a heart of pure gold! You’re most definitely one of the most liked and respected players on the tour. I know all of us girls in the locker room are in awe & so grateful for how you always fight in our corner! Thank you so much for that.

“You inspire me in so many ways and I don’t want you to go!! Stay strong and keep fighting it’s pretty nerve racking playing with you because you’re pretty gosh darn Awesome (with a capital A) but jheez am I so grateful I have!”

Gregr Dimitrov: “Tennis will come to an end for us all but the friendships will last a lifetime. What you’ve done for the sport will live on forever. I’m hoping for a strong and healthy finish for you, my friend! @andy_murray”

Kyle Edmund, who ended Murray’s 12-year reign as British No 1 in March:  “He’s Britain’s greatest tennis player ever and you could say maybe Britain’s best sportsman ever.

“One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is to play doubles with him. I don’t know if that’s going to happen now. But I’ve spent more hours on the court with him than I have with any other person.”

Billie Jean King, 12-times Grand Slam champion: “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. Much love to you and your family.”

German player 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.”

Analysis: How Murray helped redefine Scotland and masculinity



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