Aus­tralian Open spells the end for Mur­ray

Viet Nam News - - SPORT -

MEL­BOURNE — A tear­ful Andy Mur­ray yes­ter­day an­nounced he would likely re­tire this year due to se­vere pain from a hip in­jury, say­ing next week’s Aus­tralian Open could be the last tour­na­ment of a glit­ter­ing ca­reer.

The for­mer world num­ber one and three-time Grand Slam win­ner broke down at a press con­fer­ence in Mel­bourne as he said the pain had be­come al­most un­bear­able.

“I can play with lim­i­ta­tions. But hav­ing the lim­i­ta­tions and the pain is not al­low­ing me to en­joy com­pet­ing or train­ing,” the emo­tional Scot said.

Thirty- one- year- old “Sir Andy” said he would like to fin­ish at his home Grand Slam in Wim­ble­don, but rue­fully ad­mit­ted he might not make it that far.

He will be re­mem­bered as the first Bri­tish man to win Wim­ble­don in 77 years and as a player who bat­tled his way to the top in a golden era for the game along­side Roger Fed­erer, No­vak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

“Wim­ble­don is where I would like to stop play­ing, but I am not cer­tain I am able to do that,” he said.

“I’ve been strug­gling for a long time. I’m not sure I can play through the pain for an­other four or five months.

“Pretty much done ev­ery­thing that I could to try and get my hip feel­ing bet­ter and it hasn’t helped loads.”

He pulled out of last year’s Aus­tralian Open to have hip surgery and only re­turned in June at Queen’s Club in Lon­don.

He ended the sea­son at Shen­zhen in Sep­tem­ber af­ter only a hand­ful of ap­pear­ances to con­cen­trate on work­ing his way back to full fit­ness.

But he was knocked out in the sec­ond round on his re­turn at Bris­bane last week and called it quits on Thurs­day af­ter less than an hour of a prac­tice match in Mel­bourne against Djokovic, with his move­ment clearly ham­pered.

“I think there is a chance the Aus­tralian Open is my last tour­na­ment,” he said.

While he in­tends to be­gin his open­ing- round match against 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut next week, how his body with­stands po­ten­tially gru­elling fiveset clashes in en­ergy- sap­ping heat re­mains to be seen.

‘Leg­end of a bloke’

One of the so-called Big Four, along with Fed­erer, Djokovic and Nadal, who have dom­i­nated the game for years, Mur­ray’s rank­ing has slumped to 230.

He hasn’t reached a Grand Slam fi­nal since win­ning his sec­ond Wim­ble­don ti­tle in 2016, but has nev­er­the­less en­joyed a glit­ter­ing ca­reer since turn­ing pro­fes­sional in 2005, with not only three Grand Slam ti­tles, but two Olympic gold medals and 45 ATP crowns.

No­tably, in 2013 Mur­ray be­came the first Bri­tish man to win Wim­ble­don for 77 years, end­ing the na­tion’s ob­ses­sion with find­ing a cham­pion to fol­low in the foot­steps of Fred Perry.

World num­ber five Juan Martin del Potro, who has also strug­gled with in­juries and will miss the Aus­tralian Open, told Mur­ray to “keep fight­ing”.

“We love you @andy_­mur­ray and we want to see you happy and do­ing well,” he added.

Bil­lie Jean King called him “a cham­pion on and off court”, re­fer­ring to Mur­ray’s long-time sup­port of women’s equal­ity in ten­nis.

“So sorry you can­not re­tire on your own terms, but re­mem­ber to look to the fu­ture. Your great­est im­pact on the world may be yet to come. Your voice for equal­ity will in­spire fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” she said.

Top Aus­tralian coach Dar­ren Cahill, who un­til re­cently was men­tor­ing world num­ber one Si­mona Halep, said Mur­ray was an ex­am­ple of the never-say-die at­ti­tude that sep­a­rated the best from the av­er­age.

“When you search for ex­am­ples of ’emp­tied the bucket to be as good as they could be’ there should be a pic­ture of Andy Mur­ray sit­ting un­der that quote,” he tweeted. — AFP

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Strug­gling: For­mer world num­ber one and three-time Grand Slam win­ner Andy Mur­ray breaks down in Mel­bourne as he says he will likely re­tire this year due to se­vere pain from a hip in­jury. — AFP Photo

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