Andy Murray retiring because of hip injury – Australian Open likely to be his last tournament
- The 31-year-old breaks down in tears at Melbourne press conference
- Former world No 1 wants to retire at Wimbledon this summer but is ‘not sure I can play through the pain’ of hip injury
An emotional Andy Murray broke down in tears as he announced he plans to retire from tennis at Wimbledon this year, but admitted the pain in his hip is so severe he could be forced to bow out after the Australian Open.
The 31-year-old cried as he told a press conference at Melbourne Park that his hip injury, which first flared up in the summer of 2017, was “not great” before leaving the room to compose himself.
After returning, he said he had a severely damaged right hip and could not even put his socks on without feeling pain.
“Not feeling good,” Murray said. “I’ve been struggling a long time and I’ve been in pain for about 20 months now.
“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’m going to play here. I can still play to a certain level, not a level I’m happy playing at. It’s not just that. The pain is too much really, I don’t want to continue playing that way.
The start to Andy Murray's press conference was very emotional pic.twitter.com/hObwoj71uo
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 11, 2019
Murray is set to face Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the opening grand slam of the season, where he has lost in the final five times.
“I’ve tried pretty much everything I could do but it hasn’t worked.” Murray said. “In the middle of December I spoke to my team and told them I can’t keep doing this. I thought I need to have an end point, because I was playing with no idea of when the pain was going to stop.
“I said to them maybe I could get through this until Wimbledon, that is where I would like to stop playing but I am also not certain I am able to do that.”
Murray has won two of his three grand slams at the All England Club, including his first – which ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a male singles champion.
He went to see his Australian surgeon on Thursday, who operated on him on January 8 after he pulled out of last year’s Australian Open.
“I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months,” he said. “I’ve considered another operation that’s a little more severe.
“I could have my hip resurfaced which would allow me a better quality of life. I’m seriously considering that right now but there’s no guarantees with it.
“It would be nice to do things without any pain, putting shoes and socks on, that would be the main reason for me doing it.”
Murray took part in a practice match with Novak Djokovic – who has handed him four of his five Australian Open final defeats – on Thursday, but struggled and was in visible pain in between points.
He won just two games against the Serbian in front of thousands of spectators, and apologised to one of his most ardent fans on Instagram, saying: “I’m sorry I couldn’t be more entertaining today.”
“I have a severely damaged right hip,” Murray said. “The pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing.
“Everyone I bump into that’s all they want to talk about, it’s pretty draining. I’ve spoken to psychologists about it. It’s not fun or enjoyable.”
Murray, who reached No 1 in the world rankings in 2016 after winning the gold medal at the Rio Olympics, also ruled out continuing as a doubles player.
He won his first match of the season at the Brisbane International last week, beating James Duckworth, but fell in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev in the round of 16.
“I can play with limitations,” he added. “But having the limitations and the pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing or training.”
Murray is Britain’s greatest tennis player, having also ended his country’s 79-year wait to reclaim the Davis Cup when he inspired the team to glory in 2015.
The Scot received a knighthood in January 2017, following the most successful year of his career where he also won his second Wimbledon title after a three-year major trophy drought.
Murray defeated Djokovic in the 2012 US Open final, becoming the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a grand slam singles tournament.
Kind words poured in from the tennis world soon after his shock announcement.
“I tip my cap to @andy_murray !” tweeted former US Open champion Andy Roddick. “Absolute legend. Short list of best tacticians in history. Unreal results in a brutal era ... Nothing but respect here. I hope he can finish strong and healthy.”
His former coach Dani Vallverdu said: “Whatever you think ‘emptying the bucket’ means....times that by 5 and that’s who @andy_murray is. Thank you Andy - thank you for always being you. #1”
Juan Martin del Potro, who has had his own struggles with injury, implored his fellow player to keep on trying.
“Andy, just watched your conference,” Del Potro tweeted. “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.”