Andy Murray, once ranked the top male tennis player in the world, is preparing to leave the court. The 31-year-old, who has been struggling with a hip injury, announced he’ll retire from professional tennis after the 2019 Wimbledon Championships in July, if not sooner.
“I spoke to my team and I told them I can’t keep doing this and that I need to have an endpoint, because I was just playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop,” a tearful Murray told reporters in Melbourne, Australia, on Friday, January 11. “I said, look, I think I can kind of get through this until Wimbledon. That is where I would like to stop. I’m also not certain I’m able to do that.”
The Scottish athlete, who even had to excuse himself from the press conference at one point, reiterated that he has a “severely damaged right hip” and has been playing with hip pain for years. He underwent surgery in January 2018 to give his hip “the best possible chance at getting better,” but the operation didn’t alleviate the pain.
“I can still play to a level, not a level that I’m happy playing at,” he said. “But it’s not just that. The pain is too much, really. It’s not something I want. I don’t want to continue playing that way. I’ve tried pretty much everything that I could to get it right, and that hasn’t worked.”
Murray confirmed he’ll play the Australian Open next week but said the jury is still out about Wimbledon. “I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months,” he explained.
He added: “I have an option to have another operation, which is a little more severe than I had before, having my hip resurfaced, which will allow me to have a better quality of life and be out of pain. That’s something I’m seriously considering.”
Murray is a three-time Grand Slam tournament winner, having won the U.S. Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016, and a two-time Olympic champion. Between November 2016 and August 2017, he was ranked as the No. 1 male tennis player in the world, becoming the first singles player from the United Kingdom to top the Association of Tennis Professionals’ ranking.