Tennis

‘The ache is an excessive amount of actually’: Tearful Andy Murray says Australian Open could possibly be his final event

MELBOURNE, Australia — Andy Murray continues to be hoping to make it to 1 extra Wimbledon event earlier than his problematic hip forces him into retirement. For now, he’s solely committing to the Australian Open.

In an emotional information convention Friday, when a tearful Murray needed to depart the room shortly after his first try to get it began, and wanted to pause a number of instances to compose himself as soon as it had resumed, he confirmed he’d play his first-round match on the Australian Open subsequent week however wasn’t certain how for much longer he might proceed past that.

The 31-year-old Murray stated he practiced within the low season with the primary objective of creating one final run at Wimbledon, the place he ended the 77-year drought for British males along with his title in 2013, however now wasn’t certain he’d make it that far.

“I can nonetheless play to a degree — not a degree I’m pleased taking part in at,” he stated. “But additionally, it’s not simply that. The ache is an excessive amount of actually.

“I don’t wish to proceed taking part in that method. I attempted just about the whole lot that I might to get it proper — that hasn’t labored.”

Andy Murray of Nice Britain speaks throughout a press convention forward of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 11, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.

The three-time Grand Slam champion is scheduled to open towards No. 22-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut at Melbourne Park, the place the season-opening main begins Monday.

He has reached the ultimate 5 instances on the Australian Open however by no means received the title. Getting by the primary spherical will likely be a significant achievement in 2019 for the previous No. 1-ranked Murray, who has slumped to No. 230 after taking part in simply 12 matches final yr following surgical procedure on his proper hip in January.

He opened this season final week on the Brisbane Worldwide, the place he received his opening match towards James Duckworth however misplaced within the second spherical to Daniil Medvedev, exhibiting seen indicators of limping between factors and struggling to maneuver freely round court docket. He had an incomplete apply match towards long-time good friend and top-ranked Novak Djokovic on Thursday at Melbourne Park, however solely received two video games.

Murray has had a celebrated profession, breaking lengthy Grand Slam droughts for British males when he received the U.S. Open in 2012 and at Wimbledon the next yr — when he was the primary British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the distinguished garden tennis title. He additionally turned the one participant to win consecutive singles gold medals on the Olympics when he received at London in 2012 and Rio in 2016.

Lengthy thought of a part of the so-called Massive 4 in males’s tennis with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Murray probably would be the youngest of them to retire after 20 months of making an attempt to take care of his painful hip.

At 37, Federer is in Australia making an attempt to win the title for the third consecutive yr and for a seventh time general. At 31, top-ranked Djokovic is at Melbourne Park additionally making an attempt to win a seventh Australian title. The 32-year-old Nadal is ranked No. 2 and assured of extending his profession for a number of years.

Murray has been making ready for the 2019 season understanding that his profession could possibly be over inside months. In his coaching program final month, he instructed his help group that the ache was changing into an excessive amount of and that he wanted to set a date for retirement.

“I spoke to my workforce and I instructed them I can’t preserve doing this, that I wanted to have an finish level as a result of (I used to be) type of taking part in with no concept when the ache was going to cease,” he instructed the information convention Friday. “I stated to my workforce ‘I feel I can get by to Wimbledon’ … that’s the place I wish to cease — cease taking part in.”

Murray added, changing into tearful once more, “However I’m additionally not sure I’m ready to try this.

“I’m undecided I’m capable of play by the ache for an additional 4 of 5 months.”

On this June 19, 2018, file photograph, Andy Murray of Britain celebrates successful a degree after he performs a return to Nick Kyrgios of Australia throughout their singles tennis match on the Queen’s Membership tennis event in London. Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP / AP

Gamers and coaches world wide rallied round Murray. Juan Martin del Potro, who has struggled with accidents all through his profession, posted a message on Twitter expressing his help: “Andy, simply watched your convention. Please don’t cease making an attempt. Maintain preventing … You should retire by yourself phrases.”

Commentator Darren Cahill praised his contribution to the game, as did fellow participant Grigor Dimitrov.

Murray stated he’s contemplating one other hip operation, extra to enhance his high quality of life than as a method of returning to the highest degree in tennis.

“I’ve the choice to have one other operation, which is a bit bit extra extreme than what I’ve had earlier than — having my hip resurfaced,” he stated. “That’s one thing that I’m critically contemplating proper now. Some athletes have had that and have gone again to competing (however) the rationale for having an operation like that’s not to return to skilled sports activities, you already know, it’s only for a greater high quality of life.”

Murray stated he’d spoken extensively to long-time doubles star Bob Bryan about recovering from an identical operation, however couldn’t see himself recovering to be match sufficient for singles and he wasn’t contemplating transitioning to doubles.

“I’ve a severely broken proper hip,” he stated. “Clearly you see me working round a tennis court docket, strolling in between factors, and clearly I do know it doesn’t’ look good … look comfy.

“However there’s little issues, day-to-day, which can be additionally a battle. It might be good to have the ability to do them with none ache: placing footwear on, socks on, thinks like that. That’s the primary purpose for doing it.”

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