Emotional Andy Murray confirms intention to retire from tennis
Murray admitted that he is not sure if he can continue to play through the pain
When Andy Murray entered the press room ahead of his Australian Open press conference early on Friday morning British time, he cut a clearly emotional figure.
The 31-year-old sat in front of assembled journalists and cameras with a pensive look, intermittently covering his hand with his mouth and touching the peak of his cap in a bid to compose himself.
In the end he was forced to depart the press room for a short time to do so properly, before returning and delivering the news that will have been difficult for British tennis fans to process.
The start to Andy Murray's press conference was very emotional 😢 pic.twitter.com/hObwoj71uo
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 11, 2019
Upon his return a devastated Murray confirmed that he will retire at this year's Wimbledon tournament, before revealing that - given the extent of his hip injuries and the pain he is forced to play through - this month's Australian Open may well end up being his final tournament.
The two-time Wimbledon champion only played 12 matches in 2018, and was seen limping during his second round Brisbane International defeat last week.
"During my training block (in Miami last month) I spoke to my team and told them I can't keep doing this," said the three-time Grand Slam champion.
"I needed to have an end point because I was sort of playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop.
"I said to my team, look I think I can get through this until Wimbledon.
"That's where I'd like to stop playing, but I'm also not certain I'm able to do that."
Despite his intention to play through to the summer, Murray did admit that the Australian Open could well be his last.
"Yes 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, wiping away tears.
Murray will go down as one of the greatest British sportspeople of his generation, after a career which has seen maintain a win percentage close to 80 percent, as well as claiming two Wimbledon titles, one US Open and two Olympic gold medals.
The announcement prompted a flood of tributes from the tennis world, with a number of figures from the sport sending their regards to the Scot.
Andy, just watched your conference. Please don’t stop trying. Keep fighting. I can imagine your pain and sadness. I hope you can overcome this. You deserve to retire on your own terms, whenever that happens. We love you @andy_murray and we want to see you happy and doing well. 🙏
— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) January 11, 2019
.@andy_murray You are a champion on and off the court. 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. Much love to you & your family. https://t.co/AQUOP3LGec
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) January 11, 2019
Andy Murray’s press conference. A great competitor, tormented by the thought of having to retire. He won’t stop being an inspiration. https://t.co/lHSFcamwmy
— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) January 11, 2019