Media speculation continues about the future of former world number one tennis player Andy Murray – as the Scot faces the biggest decision of his life due to a recurring hip injury.
Following his early exit from the 2019 Australian Open, when he was beaten in five sets by the world number 23, Roberto Bautista Agut, Murray hasn’t revealed whether he will be retiring from the sport he loves or if further surgery is on the cards – in the hope of being able to play again.
Many people believed his retirement was set in stone after Australian Open bosses screened an elaborate video tribute to the star immediately after his shock exit from the championship on 14th January.
After graciously accepting the tribute, Murray said “if” it did turn out to be his last match, it had been an “amazing” way of ending his career. However, it was later revealed the star was considering a major operation to resurface his hip bone with a metal implant, in order to extend his career.
According to an official statement from Murray’s camp, “no decision has been made about an operation.” The press release said Murray had decided to withdraw from all tournaments and would make a further announcement in the near future.
Murray had already revealed he was pulling out of his next tournament, the Open 13 Provence in Marseille, which starts on 19th February. A press release from the tournament organisers claimed Murray would “undergo further surgery” and was therefore forfeiting upcoming tournaments.
However, the Murray camp later refuted that the decision had been made already, although he had also pulled out of the Montpellier and Dubai tournaments next month.
Earlier this year, he had said he hoped to play in one last Wimbledon tournament this summer before retirement. If he has more surgery, it is highly unlikely he’ll be fit to play in the event, which starts on Monday 1st July.
The 31-year-old is Britain’s most successful professional tennis player since Fred Perry in 1936. He is one of the UK’s highest achievers, having been playing tennis since the age of three. He won his first major tournament, the Florida Orange Bowl, at the age of 12.
Winning the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games and his first Grand Slam, the US Open, the same year, his adult career has been highly successful. In 2013, Murray was the first British men’s singles champion in 77 years to triumph at Wimbledon, following Perry’s win in 1936. He won Wimbledon again in 2016 and the gold medal in the men’s singles at the Rio Olympics.
Sadly, his ongoing hip problems have blighted his career in recent years and he limped away from Wimbledon in 2017. The star has never blamed his injuries for any losses – this is one reason why he is so inspirational and why his fans admire him.
On 8th January 2018, he announced he had undergone hip surgery. After being world number one, due to his surgery and recovery period, he dropped out of the top ten players for the first time since October 2014. He had been getting back in training and planned his competitive comeback for the Australian Open 2018. Currently, Murray is ranked 240th in the world.
He must now decide whether to have further pioneering surgery to try and carry on playing, or whether to call it a day. He is also deciding whether to try and play at Wimbledon this summer and whether this will be his swansong. It’s an emotional moment for Murray, but the ongoing support from family, friends and fans is helping to keep him going.
Surgeon Edwin Su, who has been widely tipped to carry out the hip surgery should Murray decide to go ahead, said in an interview this week that he was sure the operation would “absolutely be able” to help Murray. He described the surgery as “really miraculous”, saying most patients were free from pain by the time they woke up from the anaesthetic.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Wimbledon was planning to honour Murray with a statue at the world-famous All England Club. He would join the ranks of Perry, whose statue was unveiled in 1984. Wimbledon’s chief executive, Richard Lewis, said they could honour Murray in a similar way.
Lewis added he felt it would be the appropriate time to recognise Murray’s “extraordinary career” when the star retired.