Murray says Australian Open could be his last tournament
SYDNEY — Former world number one Andy Murray, who has been struggling with a hip injury, says the Australian Open could be his last tournament, though he would like to make it to Wimbledon.
Struggling to hold back his emotions at a press conference in Melbourne on Friday, the 31year-old Scot briefly left after the first question to regain his composure.
“[I’m] not feeling good,” he said. “Obviously I’ve been struggling for a long time. I’ve been in a lot of pain for what’s been probably about 20 months now.
“I’ve pretty much done everything that I could to try and get my hip feeling better and it hasn’t helped loads.”
He said that though he could still “play to a level” it wasn’t “a level that I’m happy playing at.
“But it’s not just that — the pain is too much really. I don’t want to continue playing that way. I’ve tried pretty much everything to get it right and that hasn’t worked.”
Asked whether the Australian Open, which begins on Monday, could be his last tournament, he replied: “I think there’s a chance of that for sure, because I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months.”
He said he told his team in December that he needed an “end point.”
“I said to my team I think I can kind of get through this to Wimbledon, that’s where I’d like to stop playing ... but I’m also not certain I’m able to do that.”
He also admitted that everyday tasks such as putting shoes and socks on were “a struggle.”
The three-time grand slam champion, who has been an Australian Open finalist five times, was operated on a year ago but has struggled with his return, missing most of the last season.
On Thursday he won just two out of 12 games in a practice match with world number one Novak Djokovic.
Australian Open draw: Federer handed kind start
Defending champion Roger Federer has been handed a kind draw in the early stages of the Australian Open, with his first match to be against world number 99 Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.
However the third seed, who will be trying for his 21st grand slam title and seventh Australian Open title, could face rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round and Marin Cilic, whom he defeated for last year’s title, in the quarter final.
The draw, made at Melbourne Park on Thursday, means he cannot meet top seed Novak Djokovic, who will play a qualifier in his first match, until the final.
“The moment you find out the draw and who you’re playing that’s when you shift your focus to the first round and to only the first round and not to winning a seventh [title],” said Federer, who attended the draw.
The 37-year-old said he was hoping to defend his title “because I can’t believe I won the last two, so that has to be the goal. But I’m really trying not to put too much pressure on myself.”
Djokovic, the world number one, could face wildcard JoWilfried Tsonga, whom he beat in the 2008 final, in the second round and world number four Alexander Zverev if both players progress to the semis.
Second seed Rafael Nadal opens against Australian wildcard James Duckworth.
In the women’s draw, Simona Halep has a tough start, facing off in her first match against Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, who defeated her in straight sets in the first round of last year’s US Open.
The world number one could also meet 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, who missed last year’s tournament after giving birth to her first child, in the fourth round.