Sir Andy Murray has revealed he plans to retire from tennis after this year’s Wimbledon – but admits he may be forced to quit the sport even earlier.
In a tearful press conference at the Australian Open this morning, the Scot explained why he plans to call time on his career.
“I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months,” he told the media. “I want to get to Wimbledon and stop but I’m not certain I can do that.
The 31-year-old, who has been battling a long-term hip injury, still intends to play his Australian Open first-round match against Spanish 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut next week.
But he candidly admitted this could be his last tournament as a professional player.
“I’m not feeling good, I’ve been struggling for a long time,” he added.
“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.
“I’m in a better place than I was six months ago but I’m still in a lot of pain. I can still play to a level, but not a level I have played at.”
‘The pain is too much’
The three-time Grand Slam winner had surgery on his right hip last January and has played 14 matches since returning to the sport last June.
“The pain is too much really,” he said. “I need to have an end point because I’m playing with no idea of when the pain will stop.
“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 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. If I had it, it would be to have a better quality of life.”
His announcement prompted a wave of support from the world of tennis.
Tributes to a champion
Billie Jean King, who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, tweeted:
.@andy_murray 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 & your family. https://t.co/AQUOP3LGec
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) 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
Always sad when a sporting career comes to an end. Sadder still when it’s one of the greatest sportsmen that these islands has ever produced. Wish @andy_murray all the very best. A truly wonderful tennis player, and an absolute credit to his sport. Well played, Sir. 👋👋 https://t.co/z0td9c4Q3Y
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) January 11, 2019
Nobody has done more for British tennis than you and it looks like nobody will for many years to come. You have been an inspiration, friend and role model to me from the get go and I thank you for everything. Hope to see you out there for as long as possible @andy_murray 🎾 pic.twitter.com/xkxUXf1lOb
— Kyle Edmund (@kyle8edmund) January 11, 2019