Andy Mur­ray: Aus­tralian Open could be last tour­na­ment

Daily Messenger - - Sportlight -

MEL­BOURNE: Bri­tain's Andy Mur­ray says he plans to re­tire after this year's Wim­ble­don but fears next week's Aus­tralian Open could be the fi­nal tour­na­ment of his ca­reer.

The three-time Grand Slam win­ner, who is strug­gling to re­cover from hip surgery, was in tears at a news con­fer­ence in Mel­bourne on Fri­day.

"I'm not sure I'm able to play through the pain for an­other four or five months," said the 31-yearold Scot.

"I want to get to Wim­ble­don and stop but I'm not cer­tain I can do that."

How­ever, Mur­ray says he still in­tends to play his Aus­tralian Open first-round match against Span­ish 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut next week.

The for­mer world num­ber one had surgery on his right hip last Jan­uary and has played 14 matches since re­turn­ing to the sport last June.

Mur­ray ended his 2018 sea­son in Septem­ber to spend time work­ing with re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ex­pert Bill Knowles but still looked short of the re­quired level when he played world num­ber one No­vak Djokovic in an open prac­tice match at Mel­bourne Park on Thurs­day.

In his news con­fer­ence - dur­ing which he left the room to com­pose him­self be­fore re­turn­ing - Mur­ray said: "I'm not feel­ing good, I've been strug­gling for a long time.

"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 was frank in his as­sess­ment of his abil­i­ties, con­ced­ing he is no longer able to per­form to the level at which he won the US Open in 2012 and Wim­ble­don in 2013 and 2016.

He told the world's me­dia of the ag­o­nis­ing pain he is in when play­ing and says fur­ther hip surgery might be needed to en­sure he has a bet­ter qual­ity of life in re­tire­ment.

"The pain is too much re­ally," said Mur­ray, who is also a two-time Olympic cham­pion. "I need to have an end point be­cause I'm play­ing with no idea of when the pain will stop.

"I'd like to play un­til Wim­ble­don - that's where I'd like to stop play­ing - but I'm not cer­tain I'm able to do that.

"I have the op­tion of an­other op­er­a­tion which is a lit­tle bit more se­vere - and in­volves hav­ing my hip resur­faced - which would al­low me to have a bet­ter qual­ity of life and be free of pain. "That's some­thing I'm se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing now. Some ath­letes have had it and gone back to com­pet­ing but there's no guar­an­tee of that.

"If I had it, it would be to have a bet­ter qual­ity of life."

Mur­ray, who was knighted in the Queen's New Year Hon­ours list at the end of 2016, also ruled out be­com­ing a dou­bles player in the fu­ture, end­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of him team­ing up with older brother Jamie in the twi­light of his ca­reer.

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