The tennis world was in for a shock ahead of the 2019 Australian Open, when former World No 1 Andy Murray made an announcement on Friday that Australian Open might potentially be his last tournament as a professional. The Brit, who has been five-time runner up at Melbourne Park, had gone under the knife on the joint a year ago and has been unable to recover his best form.
During a press conference on Friday, the 31-year-old three-times Grand Slam champion struggled to hold back tears. He told the press that he had hoped to play until at least this year’s Wimbledon tournament, but the unbearable pain from his hip could bring down the curtains early and the first Grand Slam of the year might end up being his final swansong.
“I’m going to play (in Australia). I can still play to a level — not a level I’m happy playing at,” he said. “But also, it’s not just that. The pain is too much really,” he said.
“Yeah, I think there’s a chance of that, yeah for sure,” the Scot said. “The pain is too much, really … I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months. The pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing or training or any of the stuff I love about tennis.”
Murray said he was mulling another round of major hip surgery but added that it was more aimed at improving his “quality of life” and it might not mean an eventual return to the tour.
“I have an option to have another operation which is a little bit more kind of severe than what I’ve had before, having my hip resurfaced which would allow me to have a better quality of life,” he said. “That’s something I’m seriously considering right now … Some athletes have had that and gone back to competing but there’s obviously no guarantees.”
Murray had a surgery in his right hip in January 2018 and after two attempts to return to the tour, he played only 12 matches throughout the year.
Murray had a glorious career in which he broke the Grand Slam droughts for British men when he won the US Open in 2012 and the Wimbledon the following year. He also became the only player to win consecutive singles gold medals at the Olympics. He was considered part of the so-called ‘Big Four’ in men’s tennis with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic — the group of players who dominated the majors.