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There will, unfortunately, be no fairytale comeback for Andy Murray, reports CNN.
Hindered by a hip injury, the three-time grand slam winner announced Friday on the eve of the Australian Open that he will retire at Wimbledon in July — if he can make it that far.
Indeed, the 31-year-old Scot admitted the year’s first major could be his last event, such is the state of his surgically repaired right hip.
He left his press conference in tears, a day after the Telegraph reported Murray looked like a shadow of his old self when he was soundly beaten by his childhood pal and the current world No. 1, Novak Djokovic, in a practice session at Melbourne Park.
“I can play with limitations but having the limitations and the pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing or training,” Murray, down to 230th in the rankings, said. “Wimbledon is where I would like to stop playing but I am not certain I am able to do that.
“Not feeling good. 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. I think there is a chance the Australian Open is my last tournament.”
“As Andy looks to wind down over the next several months, the world of tennis will lose a great competitor but he will leave a measure of true grit that we can all learn from,” Ivan Lendl, Murray’s coach during his greatest triumphs, told CNN.
Considering he competes in the same era as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic — three of tennis’ finest ever players who have won a combined 51 majors — it was another phenomenal accomplishment.
On the eve of 2017, Murray duly received a knighthood for his tennis achievements and charity work.
That is the hope, but Murray’s fitness suggests otherwise.
His physical style of play had taken a toll over the years but none more so than in the past two. After a five-set defeat to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon in 2017 when Murray visibly struggled with his movement, he shut down his season.
Then he underwent hip surgery last January in Australia, not returning until June and skipping Wimbledon altogether. One need only ask Lleyton Hewitt, a former No. 1, just how damaging hip injuries can be.