herald

Saturday 23 March 2019

'Pained' Andy calls it quits

Tributes as star plans to hang up his racket

Andy Murray speaks to media during a press conference at the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday
Andy Murray speaks to media during a press conference at the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday

Andy Murray ended an emotional day with a hug from mother Judy as he thanked well-wishers for their messages of support following his announcement of his plans to retire.

The tennis world has been paying tribute to three-time grand slam winner Murray after he revealed he will hang up his racket after this year's Wimbledon.

The 31-year-old Scot also admitted his chronic hip condition means he might not even make it to the scene of his greatest triumphs, and that next week's Australian Open could be the final tournament of his career.

Top-ranked British players Kyle Edmund and Johanna Konta led the tributes, along with Murray's rivals, and friends, such as Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Martin Del Potro and Nick Kyrgios.

Sharing a photo of himself with Judy Murray, the former world number one wrote on Instagram: "Best way to feel better after a tough day is a big cuddle from your mum.

"Genuinely been very touched by all of the messages and support from everybody today.

"It means a lot and has made me feel much more positive than when I woke this morning. Thank you so much."

Murray's smile was in sharp contrast to a few hours earlier, when he was on the verge of tears as he entered the press room and, asked how his hip was feeling, managed to say "not great" before being overcome by his emotions and having to leave.

He returned after several minutes to deliver his devastating news.

Murray will contest his first-round match against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday but that may prove to be the final match of his illustrious career.

"I'm going to play," he said. "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 and I don't want to continue playing that way.

"During my training block (in Miami last month) I spoke to my team and told them I can't keep doing this. I needed to have an end point because I was sort of playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop.

"I said to my team, look I think I can get through this until Wimbledon.

"That's where I'd like to stop playing.

"But I'm also not certain I'm able to do that."

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