The former world number one and three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray on Friday announced an unexpected retirement due to right hip injury. He said Australian Open could be his last event of a glittering career.
The 31-year-old broke down in tears at a press conference in Melbourne as he revealed that the pain had become almost unbearable.
“Obviously I’ve been struggling for a long time and I have been in a lot of pain for about twenty months now,’ he said. “I’ve pretty much done everything that I could to try and get my hip feeling better and it hasn’t helped loads. I’m in a better place than I was six months ago but still in a lot of pain. It’s been tough.”
“I can play with limitations. But having the limitations and the pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing or training,” the emotional Scot said.
The three-time Grand Slam winner said he would like to finish at his home Grand Slam in Wimbledon, but regretfully admitted he might not make it that far.
He will be remembered as the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years and as a player who battled his way to the top in a golden era for the game alongside Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Overcome with emotion, Murray said, “Wimbledon is where I would like to stop playing, but I am not certain I am able to do that.”
He pulled out of last year’s Australian Open to have hip surgery and only returned in June at Queen’s Club in London.
He ended the season at Shenzhen in September after only a handful of appearances to concentrate on working his way back to full fitness.
But he was knocked out in the second round on his return at Brisbane last week and called it quits on Thursday after less than an hour of a practice match in Melbourne against Djokovic, with his movement clearly hampered.
“I think there is a chance the Australian Open is my last tournament,” he said.
While he intends to begin his opening-round match against 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut next week, how his body withstands potentially gruelling five-set clashes in energy-sapping heat remains to be seen.
“I’m going to play. I can still play to a level, not a level I’m happy playing at,” he said.
Murray won the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016 to join Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the ‘big four’ of men’s tennis.
The Scot, who is ranked 230th in the world, will play Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round in Melbourne.