Three-time grand-slam champion Andy Murray is set to retire from tennis and could make the Australian Open his final tournament, admitting he can no longer play at the top level after enduring years of significant hip issues.
A devastated Murray was in tears on Friday when he made the announcement, briefly walking out of a media conference to gather his composure.
The Scotsman intends to play in the season-opening major at Melbourne Park and had hoped to make Wimbledon his final hurrah.
But he conceded there was a chance he would not make it beyond the Australian Open.
“I’m not feeling good. I’ve obviously been struggling for a long time,” Murray said.
“I’ve been in a lot of pain for probably about 20 months now.
“I can still play to a level, (although) not a level that I’m happy playing at. But it’s not just that, the pain is too much really.
“I don’t want to continue playing that way. I’ve tried pretty much everything to get it right and that hasn’t worked.”
Murray won the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016 to join Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the ‘big four’ of men’s tennis.
A five-time finalist at Melbourne Park, Murray said he had reflected on his future during a training block at the end of last year.
“I spoke to my team and I told that I can’t keep doing this, that I needed to have an end point because (I was) just playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop,” he said.
“I said to my team ‘I think I can get through to Wimbledon’ … that’s where I would like to stop playing. But I’m also not certain I’m able to do that.”