A tearful Andy Murray announced Friday at his Australian Open pre-tournament interview that the upcoming Grand Slam event in Melbourne may be his final tournament.
The former world No. 1 said he hopes to take his final bow at Wimbledon this summer before retiring, but may not be able to due to ongoing pain in his right hip.
“There’s a chance, for sure. I am not sure I can play through the pain for another four or five months,” said the 31-year-old Murray, who had hip surgery in January 2018 and played only 12 matches last year. “I spoke to my team in December, and I said, ‘I can’t keep doing this.’ I needed to have an end point. Playing with no end to where the pain would stop.
“I said to my team I can get through this ’til Wimbledon. This is where I would like to stop playing. I am also not certain I am able to do that.”
Murray, who has fallen to No. 230 in the rankings, said he plans to play his opening match in Melbourne against No. 22-ranked Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, but in fact, the Australian Open could be his final event.
“I can still play to a level, not a level that I’m happy playing at. But it’s not just that, the pain is too much really,” Murray said. He explained he had played with hip pain for much of his career, but that it got worse in a five-set loss in the 2017 French Open semifinal to Stan Wawrinka.
“I have a severely damaged right hip,” Murray said. “Having the operation last year was to give it the best possible chance of being better. It got to a level where I didn’t recover from that match (vs. Wawrinka), pushed it over the edge, having the operation would hopefully make it as good as possible. It didn’t help with the pain at all. That is the thing I have been struggling with.”
Murray said he’s considering having another hip operation, but not likely as a way to return to tennis.
“I have an option to have another operation which is a little more severe than I had before, having my hip resurfaced, which will allow me to have a better quality of life and be out of pain. That’s something I’m seriously considering,” he explained. “Some athletes have had that and gone back to competing but there’s obviously no guarantee and it is certainly not something — the reason for having an operation like that is not to return to competitive sport, it’s for a better quality of life.”
Murray has won three Grand Slam titles — 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon and the 2012 U.S. Open — and two Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016. He became the first British singles player to be world No. 1 on Nov. 7, 2016, and spent 41 weeks in the top spot. He was knighted in December 2016.
Overall, he’s won 45 career singles titles, including nine in 2016, and made 11 Grand Slam finals appearances. He won 663 tour-level matches and posted 29 combined wins in his career against Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
–Field Level Media