Emo­tional Mur­ray says he can’t go on

Trib­utes poured in yes­ter­day after Dun­blane ten­nis leg­end Andy Mur­ray an­nounced he was re­tir­ing

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - DOU­GLAS BAR­RIE

Sir Andy Mur­ray has been hailed as a “leg­end” by the first min­is­ter after the ten­nis star an­nounced he will re­tire this year.

Ni­cola Stur­geon led praise from near and far after the dou­ble Olympic cham­pion fought back tears as he an­nounced the up­com­ing Aus­tralian Open could be his last tour­na­ment.

He ad­mit­ted dif­fi­cul­ties in play­ing with a re­cur­ring hip prob­lem but hopes to make Wim­ble­don in the sum­mer, al­though he could not con­firm that would be the case.

After watch­ing his an­nounce­ment in an emo­tional press con­fer­ence, Ms Stur­geon tweeted: “Andy Mur­ray is a leg­end – with­out doubt one of Scot­land’s great­est ever sports­men, as well as an out­stand­ing role model and in­spi­ra­tion for young peo­ple ev­ery­where.

“A credit to sport and to the coun­try. Send­ing him very best wishes.”

Scot­tish Labour leader Richard Leonard also called Sir Andy “one of our coun­try’s great­est ever sports­men”.

Tracey Crouch, the UK sports min­is­ter when Sir Andy claimed his sec­ond Wim­ble­don ti­tle in 2016, said: “He’s such a phe­nom­e­nal com­peti­tor in an era of other great play­ers, a cham­pion for equal­ity in sport and a gen­uinely nice guy.” His de­ci­sion to ap­point Amelie Mau­resmo as his coach in 2014 is con­sid­ered a ground­break­ing mo­ment in the sport.

Ques­tions have been raised over what will come next for Sir Andy, who al­ready acts as an of­fi­cial men­tor for young sports­men and women through his man­age­ment com­pany.

The pro­gramme even reaches his beloved Hiber­nian Foot­ball Club, where two play­ers are un­der the Grand Slam win­ner’s stew­ard­ship.

Sport can be a cruel mis­tress as Sir Andy Mur­ray has found out these past two in­jury-hit years.

But his is a glo­ri­ous story.

As a supremely tal­ented and ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive young­ster grow­ing up in Dun­blane, he pos­sessed the drive and de­ter­mi­na­tion needed to pur­sue his dream of com­pet­ing at the top level of sport.

He turned pro­fes­sional in 2005 and the fol­low­ing year he usurped Tim Hen­man as British num­ber one after seven years.

It was the start of a re­mark­able rise that took him to the very top of the game in, ar­guably, the finest era in ten­nis his­tory.

2012 was his year. A first grand slam at the US Open was fol­lowed by a vic­tory in his home Olympics in Lon­don.

The feat ce­mented him in the na­tion’s af­fec­tions and spawned a new vis­i­tor at­trac­tion – a gold post box – in his home town. But greater heights were to fol­low in 2013 with the first of two Wim­ble­don ti­tles.

A fully fit Sir Andy not only met the ex­pec­ta­tions of a na­tion on his shoul­ders, he reg­u­larly sur­passed them.

That in­jury is now bring­ing an early close to a golden ca­reer is sad. But it is just a foot­note in a sport­ing life that will be cel­e­brated for gen­er­a­tions to come.

The de­bate will rage for just as long as to whether Sir Andy is Scot­land’s great­est ever sportsman.

But there is no doubt he has a claim to that crown.

Pic­ture: Getty.

Andy Mur­ray fight­ing back the tears as he an­nounces that the Aus­tralian Open could be his last tour­na­ment.

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