By Darren Weir
One of Scotland’s greatest ever sports stars has today announced his plans to retire later on this year. An emotional Sir Andy Murray revealed he would like to retire following Wimbledon in July.
However, the Scot broke down in front of the world’s media on Friday morning ahead of this year’s Australian Open and admitted his body might not be able to make it to SW19. Murray took on Novak Djokovic in a pre-tournament practice this week and had to call a halt to the match early after winning only two games.
The former world No.1 is attempting to make a comeback this year after missing the majority of the 2018 season after undergoing hip surgery. His practice match against Djokovic was meant to be part of his preparations before taking on Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the Aussie Open first round on Monday. Although Murray now fears he will be unable to complete the match due to recurring hip problems and admits he may have to retire this year due to fitness problems.
BBC Scotland Reporter, Annie McGuire, believes that Murray must now put his future first. She said: “I’m not totally surprised Andy is having to retire, I think it has been obvious that he hasn’t been at full fitness, but I’m really sad he’s had to make this decision at a relatively young age.
“It would be great to see him play another Wimbledon but I think given what he is saying about the pain he is in I think it sounds like it may be tie to put his future first.”
Britain’s most successful tennis player ever has suffered a lot of high and lows throughout his career. Murray first broke onto the World stage in 2004 when he won the US Open junior boys singles title – his only Grand Slam triumph as a junior.
The fresh faced Murray then followed this up by making his professional debut in a Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2005 where he reached the third round. The Scot reached his first major final in 2008 as his first win over Rafael Nadal secured his place in the final of the US Open where he was beaten by the great Roger Federer. This was the first time a British male tennis player had featured in a Grand Slam final since Greg Rusedski in 1997. However, the man from Dunblane also suffered one of the worst defeats of his career in the same year at the Beijing Olympics. Murray went into the tournament with high expectations but crashed out in the first round after a defeat against world No. 77 Yen-hsun Lu from Taiwan.
Andy Murray then went on to suffer back-to-back defeats in the Australian Open final in 2010 and 2011 to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic respectively – Murray had now been defeated in straight sets in every one of his slam finals.
2012 was set to be a huge turning point in the British number ones tennis career, but not after a new career low. The Scot finally reached his first Wimbledon final after bowing out the semi-finals the previous three years. It seemed fitting that in Murray’s first final on Centre Court he would take on one of Tennis’ greatest ever players and gentleman, Roger Federer. Murray won the first set against the Swiss legend but eventually was outclassed and lost the final 3-1 on sets. He famously burst into tears in his runners-up speech with the BBC on Centre Court as the agony of losing a fourth Grand Slam final hit home hard.
However, Murray returned to SW19 only a few weeks later to compete in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Many Brits were unsure as to how Murray would fair in the Olympics due to the disappointment of his Wimbledon final defeat. Right from the first round Murray seemed to be fired up and motivated to bounce back – and thats exactly what he done. The British hero defeated Novak Djokovic in the semi-final to set up a gold medal final against Federer. Murray played the best match of his career to date in the final and successfully won the game in straight sets to clinch Olympic gold.
The Tennis star went into the 2012 US Open in fine form following his Olympics triumph and again reached another Grand Slam final. Murray took on Novak Djokovic in a five set thriller that lasted a gruelling 4 hours and 54 minutes – a record for a US Open final. The Scot eventually came out on top by winning the deciding set 6-2 to clinch his first Grand Slam title and become the first Brit since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a slam.
2013 was to be another big year for the British number one as he started off strongly by reaching another Australian Open final – eventually being beaten by the ever improving Novak Djokovic. Moving onto Wimbledon and Murray was gunning to go one better than he faired in the tournament last year. He battled hard through the competition to reach the final and set up another final with Djokovic. The Scot now in the form of his career managed to win the final in straight sets and write himself into British sporting history as he ended a 77 year wait for a British man to win Wimbledon.
In 2014 Murray suffered some lows as he had a rather quiet year compared to his previous few. A split with legendary coach Ivan Lendl compounded with an injury-interrupted season and no Grand Slam finals left the British number one feeling frustrated. The Dunblane man came back stronger in 2015 and reached his fourth Australian Open final but he against lost out to Novak Djokovic 3-1 on sets. Although the highlight of Murray’s 2015 came at the end of the year when he helped the British team to clinch the Davis Cup for the first time since 1936. The British team captained by Leon Smith beat Belgium 3-1 overall in the final and Murray clinched the winning point in the singles with a straight set win over David Goffin.
2016 has turned out to be Andy Murray’s last successful year at the top of world tennis and he certainly had a great year. He featured in his fifth and final Australian Open final but yet again suffered defeat to Serbian great, Novak Djokovic. In June, Murray reached a surprise first French Open final on the clay with another slam final against Djokovic. The Scot clinched the first set but eventually lost the match 3-1. Going into Wimbledon Murray was hoping to make his third Grand Slam final appearance of the season and he successfully managed this.
The Scot was favourite to take the title as he faced big serving Canadian, Milos Raonic and Murray delivered with a straight sets victory to secure his second Wimbledon title. To finish the year on a high and become world number one for the first time Murray won the ATP World Tour Finals in London in straight sets against Djokovic. It was also revealed that Murray was to be knighted in the new years honours list.
Annie McGuire hailed Murray as one of Scotland’s greats, she said: “I think he is without question the greatest.
“He has overcome a lot and been ranked number 1 in a sport that is played globally and is highly competitive and demanding.
“I doubt we will ever see greater.”
In the last couple of years Murray has struggled for fitness and has suffered with severe hip problems. At Wimbledon in 2017 he limped out in the quarter-finals against Sam Querrey in what could have been the last time we ever see the sporting legend feature on Centre Court. He underwent hip surgery in 2018 and never got back to playing as he focused on building up his strength for a comeback this year. However, following this mornings press conference Murray’s future in tennis doesn’t look promising with a predicted retirement coming later this year.
One thing that is certain in Andy Murray’s career is that he will go down as a legend in British tennis and has established himself as one of the greatest Scottish sportsmen the country has ever produced.