Murray weighs up Wimbledon swansong after five-set Australian Open thriller
The British star lost his first round Australian Open tie on Monday in a five-set thriller – a match that could prove to be his last as a professional.
Although Murray intends to retire at Wimbledon, the 31-year-old told Sky News’ sports correspondent Martha Kelner in a post-match interview that he has “ambitions for playing further than the first rounds of major events”.
“If I had the operation in the next week or so, it would be unlikely that I would be able to play Wimbledon,” he said.
“It’s a common operation, but a big one, and not an easy thing to recover from.
“So there’s a chance by having that, that I’m not able to play again, and I’m aware of that.
“But it is also my best option if I would like to try to play for longer than just one more event.
“It’s a decision between doing that or resting for the next four months and training and building up to play Wimbledon one last time.”
Murray was beaten by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in Melbourne days after announcing this will be his last season on tour.
He was 2-0 down as the pair headed into the third set, with most expecting the Briton to crash out, before coming back to claim the third and fourth in tie-breaks.
But he was defeated 6-2 in the final set, broken in games three and five.
Asked why he would consider ending his career after such a performance, Murray replied: “Because I’m in a lot of pain and I can’t last the full distance.
“I was good for about three-and-a-half sets. I would like to be doing better than that, and I can’t.”
Murray has been battling a severe hip injury since the beginning of 2017 after an incredible season that saw him claim the Wimbledon title, Olympic gold, and become world number one.
The father-of-two broke down in tears at a press conference on Friday as he confirmed he had reached the end of the road with his treatment, saying he couldn’t play at a level he would be happy with.
Asked by Kelner about his legacy and what he might commit his time to after his career ends, Murray said: “I don’t really know what I’ll do when I’ve finished playing.
“It’s something that I’ve obviously thought about over the last couple of months when it’s sort of looked like this is the end.
“I don’t really want to think about anything else right now, I want to keep playing tennis, that’s what I love doing.
“Other stuff away from the court right now just isn’t really interesting me unfortunately.”
An emotional Murray thanked fans after his Melbourne defeat.
“I’ve loved playing here over the years, this might be my last dance and if it is it’s an amazing way to end,” he told the crowd.
“Maybe I’ll see you again. I will do everything possible to try. If I want to go again I’ll have to have a big operation which there’s no guarantee I’ll come back from but I’ll give it my best shot.”
On court, Murray was interviewed by the first coach he had on the circuit, who introduced a video montage of fellow players paying tribute to him.
Rafael Nadal was among those who thanked Murray for his contribution to the sport and said “sometimes, life is not perfect”.
Novak Djokovic remembered the time Murray “kicked my butt pretty badly” when they met aged 12 in France.
Roger Federer said: “I’m your biggest fan.”
Following the montage, Murray said: “I’ve been very fortunate and unlucky to compete in an era with the guys who’ve been around.
“Roger, Rafa, Novak, have been incredibly difficult opponents but we’ve had some incredible moments, great battles that I think will live long in the memories of the fans.
“To have the respect of your peers is obviously the most important thing and it’s very nice they took the time to do that, I really appreciate it.”
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