FED­ERER Tryto make it to Wim­ble­don, Andy ...maybe then we can re­tire to­gether IT COULD BE ROGER & OUT FOR TWO LEG­ENDS AT SW19 NUM­BERS GAME IS A RACKET TO KONTA

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SPORT - FROM NEIL MCLE­MAN Ten­nis correspondent in Mel­bourne @Neilm­cle­man FROM NEIL MCLE­MAN

ROGER FED­ERER wants Andy Mur­ray to keep go­ing un­til Wim­ble­don – be­cause he is also con­sid­er­ing end­ing his ca­reer at SW19.

The Scot an­nounced last week that chronic pain in his right hip is forc­ing him to re­tire at the age of 31. He wants to bow out at Wim­ble­don this sum­mer but could call it quits di­rectly af­ter the Aus­tralian Open, where he plays Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round this morn­ing. Fed­erer said: “I hope that he can play a good Aus­tralian Open and he can keep play­ing beyond that. I hope he can fin­ish the way he wants to at Wim­ble­don. That’s what I hope for him.”

The Swiss su­per­star said Mur­ray’s de­ci­sion to quit came as a bomb­shell.

“It has hit us top guys hard be­cause we know Andy very well. We like him. He doesn’t have any en­e­mies. He’s a great guy,” he said.

“I was dis­ap­pointed and sad, a lit­tle bit shocked, to know now that we’re go­ing to lose

him. But we’re go­ing to lose ev­ery­body at some point. It’s just now that it’s def­i­nite.

“His body took the de­ci­sion, un­for­tu­nately. I think it must have been a very long cou­ple of years for him.

“I re­mem­ber when I played with him in Glas­gow (in Novem­ber 2017), I know how much he was suf­fer­ing. I could not be­lieve he ac­tu­ally played. But it was for a good cause.”

Fed­erer, who is seek­ing his third con­sec­u­tive Aus­tralian Open and 100th ATP Tour ti­tle here, won his first Grand Slam at Wim­ble­don in 2003.

He turns 38 in Au­gust and is al­ready think­ing about his exit strategy. “I have a lot of places that are very spe­cial to me, thank­fully. I’ve been very for­tu­nate,” he said.

“Wim­ble­don stands out but there are ac­tu­ally many oth­ers. I have been think­ing about it, like where is that place? I don’t have the fairy tale end­ing in my head.” No­vak Djokovic said he could see Mur­ray was near the end when they played a prac­tice match in Mel­bourne on Thurs­day. The two 31-year-olds have long been ri­vals and have played four fi­nals at the Aus­tralian Open.

The Scot ad­mit­ted he felt “help­less” against the world No.1 and the Serb said: “You didn’t need to be on court to no­tice that he’s strug­gling, that he’s not mov­ing as well as he nor­mally does.

“We’ve seen so many years of Andy Mur­ray be­ing one of the fittest guys on the tour, run­ning around the court, get­ting al­ways an ex­tra ball back. I think to that ex­tent we are kind of sim­i­lar.

“To see him strug­gle so much and go through so much pain is very sad and it hurts me as his long­time friend and ri­val.

“He’s a great cham­pion. He’s a leg­end of this sport. He touched us all. I wish him a pain­less fu­ture in what­ever shape or form that is, on or off the court.”

Mur­ray, who has beaten Bautista Agut in their last three matches with­out los­ing a set, plans to play us­ing painkillers to­day.

The Spaniard said: “I think ev­ery­body knows that ev­ery time Andy goes on court he gives 100 per cent. He’s been a fighter all his ca­reer and I think this match will be the same.”

It has hit us top guys hard be­cause we all like Andy. He doesn’t have any en­e­mies...

TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT Mur­ray pushed his mind and body in pur­suit of ten­nis glory SO CLOSE Mur­ray was de­nied fur­ther Grand Slam glory by great ri­val Fed­erer in the US Open, Aus­tralian Open & Wim­ble­don US OPEN FI­NAL 2008

AUS­TRALIAN OPEN FI­NAL 2010 WIM­BLE­DON FI­NAL 2012

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