Andy Murray, a three-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 1, announced at his pre-tournament press conference at the Australian Open that he plans on retiring from tennis this year.
Speaking to reporters in Melbourne on Friday, Murray broke down in tears as he described the pain caused by his hip injury, on which he had surgery a year ago, and said that he plans to end his professional tennis career at Wimbledon, if he can make it that far while playing through pain.
“I’ve been struggling for a long time. I’ve been in a lot of pain for probably about 20 months now,” Murray told reporters. “I’ve pretty much done everything I could to get my hip feeling better—I feel like I’m in a better place than I was six months ago, but I’m still in a lot of pain. It’s been tough.
“I think there is a chance the Australian Open is my last tournament.”
The Brit spoke about trying to keep going until Wimbledon.
“I’m not sure I can play through the pain for the next four to five months,” he added. “I can play with limitations, but having the limitations and the pain isn’t allowing me to enjoy competing or training.
“Wimbledon is where I would like to stop playing but I am not certain I am able to do that.”
Two of Murray’s three Grand Slam titles have come at Wimbledon, in 2013 (beating Novak Djokovic in the final) and 2016 (beating Milos Raonic in the final). He won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2012, which made him the first British man to win a Grand Slam singles title since Fred Perry in 1936 (Murray beat Djokovic in that final as well).
After finishing 2016 at No. 1, Murray didn’t play after Wimbledon in 2017 due to the hip injury, and didn’t start playing again until right before Wimbledon in 2018. He is 8-6 since returning to the tour.
“I have an option to have another operation, which would help me have a better quality of life and help me be out of pain, and it’s something I’m seriously considering,” Murray added. “Some athletes have had it before and gone back to competing, but there’s no guarantees with that, and the reason for having an operation like that isn’t to return to professional sport, it’s for better quality of life.”
Murray, who’s currently ranked No. 230, will play his first-round match at the Australian Open on Monday against the No. 22 seed, Roberto Bautista Agut, who had a very strong start to the 2019 season, winning a title in Doha—and beating current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic en route.