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Andy Murray: Pain could force retirement after Australian Open

Injury-plagued former world No. 1 Andy Murray has said he'll retire from professional tennis this year. The Scottish star said this month's Australian Open could be his last tournament.

In a tearful press conference on Friday, Andy Murray confirmed he would play in the first round of the Australian Open next week, but said he wasn't sure how much longer he could continue.

The former world No. 1 had hip surgery in 2018 after prolonged problems with the joint. Despite his efforts to return to the highest level, Murray has played only 12 matches in the past year.

The three-time Grand Slam winner broke down during his announcement and at one point had to leave the room. 

"I can play with limitations. But having the limitations and the pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing or training," Murray told journalists in Melbourne, ahead of the Australian Open.

The 31-year-old said he had trained with the goal of making a final run at Wimbledon, the tournament in which he ended a 77-year drought for British men. However, Murray said he now wasn't sure he would make it that far.

Andy Murray wins Wimbledon in 2013 (Reuters)

Murray ended a 77-year-old barren spell for British men's tennis with his 2013 Wimbledon victory

"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."

Fellow tennis stars like Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro paid tribute on Twitter, with Roddick hoping Murray might at least be able to play doubles with his brother at Wimbledon as a farewell. 

Long considered part of the "Big Four" in men's tennis — along with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic — he looks set to be the youngest of them to retire. Murray won his first major title in 2012, defeating Novak Djokovic in the US Open Final, before winning Wimbledon in 2013 and again in 2016. He also picked up Olympic gold in 2012 and 2016.

Murray is scheduled to open against number 22-ranked Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut at Melbourne Park, where the Australian Open begins on Monday. Although Murray has reached the tournament final five times, he has never won it.

Murray opened this season last week at the Brisbane International, winning his opening match against Australian James Duckworth. However, he lost in the second round to Russia's Daniil Medvedev, obviously limping.

  • Tennis Wimbledon - The All England Lawn Tennis Club (picture alliance/Actionplus)

    Six reasons why Wimbledon is the best grand slam

    Tradition, grass, technology

    Wimbledon is the world's oldest tennis tournament and is held annually at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet club in Wimbledon, London. In 2009, its Centre Court was fitted with a retractable roof to lessen the loss of playing time due to rain. There are 18 courts used for the Championships (and 22 practice courts) and it takes 15 months and nine tonnes of grass seed to prepare the courts.

  • Wimbledon 1997 Andre Agassi (picture-alliance/Augenklick/Rauchensteiner)

    Six reasons why Wimbledon is the best grand slam

    Wearing white

    In modern sports, where advertising dominates team kits and color is everywhere, there is something brilliant about the fact that the kits of Wimbledon players must be 90 percent white. White does not include cream or off-white, just white. Originally, it was to avoid sweat showing. Andre Agassi's wild taste was tamed in the 90s, while Roger Federer's orange-soled shoes weren't part of the code.

  • England Tennis Wimbledon Grand Slam 2011 (picture-alliance/A. Couvercelle)

    Six reasons why Wimbledon is the best grand slam

    Tough job

    It might look like good fun being a ball boy/girl at Wimbledon, but training for those in charge of the balls and the towels is perhaps tougher than any other tournament. The 14 to 18 year old school kid train for five months and from 700 applicants, only 250 end up on the coveted grass. The average age is 15 and most spend two years as a ball boy/girl.

  • Tennis Wimbledon - Erdbeeren (picture-alliance/PA_Wire/L. Whyld)

    Six reasons why Wimbledon is the best grand slam

    Strawberries and cream

    Other than the green of the grass and the white of the kit, the other color often seen at Wimbledon is red. Strawberries and cream are the tournament's favorite dish. During the tournament, 28,000 kilogramms of strawberries and 10,000 liters of fresh cream are eaten. Add to that the 320,000 glasses of Pimm's, 29,000 bottles of champagne and 25,000 scones then it's no surprise Wimbledon is awesome.

  • Tennis Wimbledon 1985 - Boris Becker (picture alliance/dpa/R. Schrader)

    Six reasons why Wimbledon is the best grand slam

    Diving volleys

    One thing about grass that other tournaments can't offer is more remarkable shots. A 17-yera-old Boris Becker made it famous when he won hearts and the Wimbledon trophy in 1985, but his famous dive carried on even after he stopped played. In 2011, Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had an incredible rally of diving shots, while Dustin Brown did the same against Lleyton Hewitt in 2013.

  • Großbritannien Wimbledon Championships 2015 - Siegerin Serena Williams (Getty Images/AFP/L. Neal)

    Six reasons why Wimbledon is the best grand slam

    The best trophy?

    Both the men's and women's trophies are some of the finest in sport. The Rosewater Dish, the trophy for the women's single champion, has a mythological theme and has the Roman goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare (Minerva) etched around the rim. The champions receive a three-quarter size replica with all the previous champions engraved, as well as the $2.8 million both winners receive.

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