'The pain is too much': Tearful tennis star Murray announces impending retirement
Andy Murray says he hopes he will make it to this year's Wimbledon but residual pain from recent hip surgery means that next week's Australian Open might the final tournament of the 31-year-old Scot's professional career.
Former World No. 1 Murray, the first British player to win the Wimbledon men's singles championship since Fred Perry in 1936, announced at a press conference on Friday in Melbourne, ahead of next's week's Australian Open, that he will soon be stepping away from the sport.
The three-time Grand Slam winner, who won the coveted Wimbledon championship in 2013 and 2016, as well as the US Open in 2012, said that an injury to his right hip had forced him to come to the decision, particularly after surgery a year ago failed to fully resolve the issue.
"I'm not sure I'm able to play through the pain for another four or five months," Murray said to the media. "I want to get to Wimbledon and stop but I'm not certain I can do that."
It was clearly a very emotional moment for the Brit, who at one point left the press conference in order to compose himself before returning.
The former world number one says that he intends to play his first round match with Spain's Roberto Bautista next week but admits that the end of his career could come sooner rather than later.
US Open 🏆Wimbledon 🏆🏆Olympics 🏆🏆Davis Cup 🏆It may almost be the end for Andy Murray in tennis, but we will never forget what he has done for the sport in Britain.A man who allowed British tennis fans to dream again! https://t.co/QagTV3wXdKpic.twitter.com/G91nUgYuhU— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) January 11, 2019
"I'm not feeling good, I've been struggling for a long time," he said."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."
Murray conceded that he may investigate further surgery in the hope that the injury doesn't affect his quality of life when he does step away from the sport.
"The pain is too much really," Murray explained. "I need to have an end point because I'm playing with no idea of when the pain will stop.
"A second surgery is an option. I wouldn't be taking the option to have a surgery to resurface and replace my hip with the view to playing at the highest level again. The number one reason to have something so serious is improve your quality of life and being in less pain."
Murray, who was awarded a knighthood for his services to the sport in the Queen's 2016 New Year Honors list, will step away from tennis as the most successful British player of his generation by a wide margin.
In addition to his Grand Slam treble, he is also a two-time Olympic champion, and helped Great Britain to Davis Cup success in 2015, as well as reaching five Australian Open finals. Given his status as one of the sport's modern greats, the world of tennis has paid tribute to his career on social media.
.@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