Federer ‘Shocked’, Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Murray Retirement Bombshell

Andy Murray of Great Britain breaks down during a press conference in Melbourne on January 11, 2019, ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. William WEST / AFP

 

Roger Federer admitted Sunday he was shocked that tennis was to lose “legend” Andy Murray this year while long-time friend Novak Djokovic said the bombshell news had “hurt” him.

Both paid tribute to the former world number one on the eve of the year’s first Grand Slam with Federer adding that the Scot should be “incredibly proud” of what he had achieved.

Murray on Friday admitted that his chronic hip injury had not been eased by surgery a year ago.

He then choked back tears and broke down as he revealed that he hoped to end his storied career at Wimbledon, but the Australian Open beginning Monday could be his last event because the constant pain was so bad.

“I was disappointed and sad, a little bit shocked, to know now that we’re going to lose him at some point,” Federer told reporters.

“But we’re going to lose everybody at some point. It’s just now that it’s definite,” he added, acknowledging that the era of the “Big Four” — himself, Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Murray was drawing inexorably to a close.

“Of course, it hits us top guys hard because we know Andy very well,” the world number three said of the three-time Grand Slam champion and double Olympic gold medal winner.

“He’s a good guy, Hall of Famer, legend. He won everything he wanted to win. Anybody would substitute their career with his. He’s a great guy.”

World number one Djokovic played Murray in a practice match three days ago and said it was obvious that there were serious problems.

“You didn’t need to be on the court to notice that he’s struggling, that he’s not moving as well as he normally does,” said Djokovic, 31, who is just a week younger than Murray.

“We’ve seen so many years of Andy Murray being one of the fittest guys on the tour, running around the court, getting always an extra ball back.

“I think to that extent, we are kind of similar. Our trajectory to the professional tennis world was pretty much similar,” added the Serb, who faces American Mitchell Krueger in the first round on Tuesday.

“His birthday is one week before mine. We’ve grown together playing junior events. We played lots of epic matches.

“Obviously to see him struggle so much and go through so much pain, it’s very sad and it hurts me as his longtime friend, colleague, rival.

“I will carry beautiful memories from the court and off the court. It’s just sad.”

Murray has won Wimbledon twice and Federer hoped the Scot could keep playing long enough to be able to say goodbye on his favourite famous grass courts.

“Of course, I hope that he can play a good Australian Open and he can keep playing beyond that, really finish the way he wants to at Wimbledon,” said 20-time Grand Slam champion, who begins his Australian Open title defence Monday against Denis Istomin.

“It’s a tough one, but one down the road he can look back on and be incredibly proud of everything he has achieved.”

Murray was the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years and will be remembered for battling his way to world number one in 2016 during a golden era for men’s tennis alongside Federer, Djokovic and Nadal.

Murray faces a first-round clash Monday against in-form Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, seeded 22, who beat Djokovic on his way to winning the Qatar Open earlier this month.

AFP

Andy Murray Breaks Down In Tears, Reveals Retirement Plan

Andy Murray of Great Britain breaks down during a press conference in Melbourne on January 11, 2019, ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. William WEST / AFP

 

A tearful Andy Murray on Friday announced he would likely retire this year due to severe pain from a hip injury, saying next week’s Australian Open could be the last tournament of a glittering career.

The former world number one and three-time Grand Slam winner broke down at a press conference in Melbourne as he said the pain had become almost unbearable.

“I can play with limitations. But having the limitations and the pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing or training,” the emotional Scot said.

Thirty-one-year-old “Sir Andy,” said he would like to finish at his home Grand Slam in Wimbledon, but ruefully admitted he might not make it that far.

He will be remembered as the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years and as a player who battled his way to the top in a golden era for the game alongside Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

“Wimbledon is where I would like to stop playing, but I am not certain I am able to do that,” he said.

“I’ve been struggling for a long time. I’m not sure I can play through the pain for another four or five months.

“Pretty much done everything that I could to try and get my hip feeling better and it hasn’t helped loads.”

He pulled out of last year’s Australian Open to have hip surgery and only returned in June at Queen’s Club in London.

He ended the season at Shenzhen in September after only a handful of appearances to concentrate on working his way back to full fitness.

But he was knocked out in the second round on his return at Brisbane last week and called it quits on Thursday after less than an hour of a practice match in Melbourne against Djokovic, with his movement clearly hampered.

“I think there is a chance the Australian Open is my last tournament,” he said.

While he intends to begin his opening-round match against 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut next week, how his body withstands potentially gruelling five-set clashes in energy-sapping heat remains to be seen.

“I’m going to play. I can still play to a level, not a level I’m happy playing at,” he said.

‘Legend of a bloke’ 

One of the so-called Big Four, along with Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, who have dominated the game for years, Murray’s ranking has slumped to 230.

He hasn’t reached a Grand Slam final since winning his second Wimbledon title in 2016, but has nevertheless enjoyed a glittering career since turning professional in 2005, with not only three Grand Slam titles, but two Olympic gold medals and 45 ATP crowns.

Notably, in 2013 Murray became the first British man to win Wimbledon for 77 years, ending the nation’s obsession with finding a champion to follow in the footsteps of Fred Perry.

Top Australian coach Darren Cahill, who until recently was mentoring world number one Simona Halep, said Murray was an example of the never-say-die attitude that separated the best from the average.

“When you search for examples of ’emptied the bucket to be as good as they could be’ there should be a picture of Andy Murray sitting under that quote,” he tweeted.

“Remarkable discipline for training, competition, sacrifice, perfection, a little crazy but a legend of a bloke.”

Former star Andy Roddick also paid tribute on Twitter.

“I tip my cap to @andy_murray! Absolute legend. The shortlist of best tacticians in history. Unreal results in a brutal era. Nothing but respect here. I hope he can finish strong and healthy,” he said.

Murray said he had an option of another operation on his troublesome hip, but it was more about his quality of life after hanging up his racquet.

“That’s something I’m seriously considering right now,” he said.

AFP

Murray Happy With Decision Not To Quit Tennis

Britain’s Andy Murray reacts after winning against Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka during a Men’s singles first round match at the ATP Nature Valley International tennis tournament in Eastbourne, southern England on June 25, 2018. Murray won the match 6-1, 6-3. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Former world number one Andy Murray says he has no regrets about not walking away from tennis despite missing 11 months of the year with a hip injury.

The three-time Grand Slam champion was speaking ahead of his return to the sport at the season-opening Brisbane International, which gets underway at the Queensland Tennis Centre on Monday.

Murray, who won the Brisbane title in 2012 and 2013, enters the tournament with a world ranking of 256.

The 31-year-old Scot had intended to play in Brisbane at the beginning of 2018 but was forced to withdraw on the eve of the tournament with a hip injury.

He had surgery soon after, which kept him out of the game for much of the year.

“You want to go out on your own terms,” he said when asked about a possible retirement.

“If I decided to stop six months ago, having not played or gotten back to a level where I can compete again, I would have looked back and regretted that.

“I owed it to myself to give myself the best possible shot to get back to a level I was happy with.

“I am able to compete at a high level, but I have to back it up a few days in a row. That’s the challenge,” he said.

Murray was limited to just six tournaments in 2018, with his best result a quarter-finals appearance in Washington in August.

“There are still things that I want to achieve,” he said.

“Whether I am capable of that I don’t really know.”

The Brisbane tournament features world number one Rafael Nadal, Japanese star Kei Nishikori and defending champion Nick Kyrgios.

AFP

Murray Ends Season After Shenzhen Quarter-Final Loss

Andy Murray of Britain hits a return during his men’s singles match against Fernando Verdasco of Spain at the ATP Shenzhen Open tennis tournament in Shenzhen, in south China’s Guangdong province on September 28, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

 

Former world number one Andy Murray has brought his season to a premature end, pulling out of the China Open in Beijing after reaching the quarter-finals at the Shenzhen Open.

The 31-year-old Briton is battling to regain top form and fitness following hip surgery in January but British media including the BBC said that he has suffered a minor ankle problem.

Murray was not included when the China Open draw was made on Saturday and also absent was world number three Novak Djokovic, who was offered a wildcard.

The China Open — which begins this weekend — has been hit by several high-profile pull-outs with Rafael Nadal not involved because of injury, Roger Federer saving himself for Shanghai and Serena Williams all absent.

Murray, ranked 311 in the world, previously said that Beijing would be his final tournament this season and he is carefully managing his schedule following his operation in order to get the most out of his creaking body.

He was beaten 6-4, 6-4 on Friday in Shenzhen by Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco, although he defeated world number 11 David Goffin in the last 16 for the best win since his comeback.

Murray, a three-time Grand Slam title winner, will spend the winter working himself back to the sort of fitness levels that saw him capture nine titles in a stellar 2016 campaign, including his second Wimbledon crown and another Olympic gold.

“It was another three matches, which is positive,” said Murray after defeat to Verdasco.

“But obviously I want to play better than that, I have higher ambitions than losing in the quarter-finals. I want to try to be better in these events.

“I need to spend more time on the practice court and the gym so that I’m more robust and physically in better shape.”

Juan Martin del Potro, the top seed in Beijing, will play Albert Ramos in his opener.

AFP

Murray Withdraws From Toronto As Wawrinka Gets Wildcard

Murray Withdraws From Toronto As Wawrinka Gets Wildcard
(File) Britain’s Andy Murray reacts during Men’s singles second round match against Britain’s Kyle Edmund at the ATP Nature Valley International tennis tournament in Eastbourne, southern England on June 27, 2018. PHOTO: Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Former world number one Andy Murray withdrew from next week’s ATP Masters Toronto event on Friday, with his wildcard passed along to another three-time Grand Slam champion, Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

Both stars are making comebacks from injuries. Britain’s Murray missed 11 months with a right hip injury before returning in June. Wawrinka was out eight months with a left knee injury.

Murray’s move came hours after an emotional three-set victory at the ATP Washington Open that ended at 3:02 a.m. Friday and left him crying into a towel for minutes after the match.

The three-hour marathon was Murray’s third gruelling three-set win of the week. He has been on court for eight hours and 11 minutes entering a scheduled quarter-final Friday against Australian teen Alex De Minaur.

But Murray said he might not play the match after finishing so late — the latest finish in the 50-year history of the event, the grind and rain delays over the first four days taking a toll.

AFP

Wounded Murray Pulls Out Of Wimbledon

Britain’s Andy Murray reacts during Men’s singles second round match against Britain’s Kyle Edmund at the ATP Nature Valley International tennis tournament in Eastbourne, southern England on June 27, 2018. PHOTO: Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Andy Murray has withdrawn from Wimbledon on the eve of the tournament after the two-time champion decided he wasn’t fit enough to compete at the All England Club.

Murray has only just returned to action after 11 months on the sidelines due to a hip injury that needed surgery in January.

“It’s with regret I’m withdrawing from Wimbledon,” Murray said in a statement on Sunday.

“I’ve made significant progress in practice and matches over the last 10 days but, after lengthy discussions with my team and with a heavy heart, we’ve decided that playing best-of-five-set matches might be a bit too soon in the recovery process.”

AFP

Murray Gets Wimbledon Boost With First Win On Comeback Trail

Britain’s Andy Murray reacts after winning against Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka during a Men’s singles first round match at the ATP Nature Valley International tennis tournament in Eastbourne, southern England on June 25, 2018. Murray won the match 6-1, 6-3. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Andy Murray offered encouragement that he could be ready to compete at Wimbledon as the former world number one beat Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-3 at Eastbourne on Monday.

Murray was playing only his second match after 11 months on the sidelines with a hip injury that required surgery in January.

The 31-year-old had lost on his comeback against Nick Kyrgios at Queen’s Club last week and claimed after that defeat that he might not be fit enough for Wimbledon.

With Wimbledon getting underway on July 2, Murray, who has won the tournament twice, is in a race to prove his fitness for the All England Club.

Keen to discover just far along he is on the road to recovery, Murray — now 156th in the rankings — took a trip to the seaside, accepting a late wildcard entry into the grass-court event at Eastbourne.

Beating a former Grand Slam champion of Wawrinka’s calibre in the first round is a major boost to Murray as he weighs up the risks of competing at Wimbledon with so little match practice under his belt.

“I am going to decide nearer the time. I need to see how my body pulls up. I’ll see how I am tomorrow and take it from there,” Murray said of his Wimbledon prospects.

“I’m very happy to get the win. I thought the first set I played well, but the second set was patchy and I was a bit nervous.

“When you haven’t played for the best part of a year, when you face someone like Stan it is tough. But obviously, I am delighted to get the win.”

After clinching his first victory since last year’s Wimbledon fourth round success against Benoit Paire, Murray will face fellow Briton Kyle Edmund in the Eastbourne second round on Wednesday.

Murray admitted after Queen’s that he had only been practicing for up to 90 minutes, making it a gamble to push his body any further at Wimbledon.

And Tim Henman, a close friend of Murray’s and a former British number one, is surprised the Scot has got this far on the comeback trail already.

“If you had said to me five weeks ago that he would have been playing the grass court season then I would have said that it is highly unlikely,” Henman said in an interview with The Scotsman.

Yet Murray relishes the chance to star at Wimbledon and remains hopeful of making it back next week.

He started encouragingly, breaking Wawrinka’s serve twice in the first set on a sweltering early evening on the south coast.

The three-time major winner’s movement was also solid, even if his Swiss opponent was far from his best following his own problems returning from knee surgery last year.

With Wawrinka struggling, Murray pressed home his advantage with a break midway through the second set.

He finished off an impressive win thanks to a double-fault from the beleaguered Swiss.

AFP

Nick Kyrgios Ruins Andy Murray’s Queen’s Comeback

Britain’s Andy Murray plays a shot to Australia’s Nick Kyrgios during their first round men’s singles match at the ATP Queen’s Club Championships tennis tournament in west London on June 19, 2018. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

 

Andy Murray endured a frustrating return from his injury nightmare as the former world number one was beaten 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 by temperamental Australian Nick Kyrgios in the Queen’s Club first round on Tuesday.

Murray gave an encouraging display in his first competitive match in 11 months after finally recovering from the hip problem that required surgery in January.

But the 31-year-old Scot couldn’t secure a fairytale comeback as Kyrgios recovered from first set accusations of ‘tanking’ (losing without trying to win) to knock out the five-time winner of the Wimbledon warm-up event.

Finally back on the court for the first time since a Wimbledon quarter-final defeat against Sam Querrey 342 days ago, Murray had low expectations of his return after several aborted comeback attempts.

But the two-time Wimbledon champion, whose ranking has plummeted to 156, will have taken heart from the way he competed, even if there were signs of rust in his shot-making and movement at times.#

Murray reacts to a lost point during the game. Photo: Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Kyrgios has been accused of tanking in the past when matches have slipped away with little effort.

And just days after the world number 21 almost beat Roger Federer in Stuttgart, he sabotaged himself with a series of bizarrely loose shots in the first set.

Former British player Andrew Castle, commentating on the match for the BBC, said: “This is a tank from Kyrgios.

“He’s just hitting the ball as hard as he can. That’s fine but don’t expect us not to call it because it is.”

Kyrgios returns to Murray during the match. Photo: Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Despite that helpful contribution from his good friend, Murray gradually ran out of steam and Kyrgios found his composure to seal his first win over the Scot at the sixth attempt.

“I was thinking how great it was to see Andy back. I asked if he is was okay at the end of the match and he was,” Kyrgios said.

“He came out really good and I kind of expected that. Regarding my own style, I’ve been entertaining since I was kid.

“I’ve got bad and good things but I’m never going to change.”

Watched by wife Kim and mum Judy, Murray was given a rousing reception as he walked onto the court and responded with a bashful wave to the crowd.

Murray had described his protracted rehabilitation, which featured only two exhibitions outings since Wimbledon last year, as the toughest spell of his career — a painful period of absence he said had reaffirmed his love for the sport.

Murray (L) shakes hands with Kyrgios after the match. Glyn KIRK / AFP

Cathartic

All the demons from those anxious medical updates and gruelling hours in the gym could finally be exorcised as Murray traded ground-strokes with Kyrgios from the baseline before capping the first point of his return with a cathartic forehand winner.

When Kyrgios tried an optimistic half-volley from the baseline, Murray scampered to the net to meet with a superb winner that proved his desire remains as strong as ever.

Murray’s returns were driving Kyrgios to distraction — not that he needs much excuse to lose focus — and a double fault gave the three-time Grand Slam champion the first break for a 4-2 lead.

With Kyrgios apparently complaining about his fitness and blasting a series of wild second serves, Murray finished the first set with ease.

Even when Kyrgios broke twice in the first game of the second set, the 23-year-old still didn’t seem happy, muttering “Am I wasting my time” while dropping his own serve.

Murray took advantage, recovering from 4-2 down to force a tie-break, but a suddenly focused Kyrgios took the break to force a deciding set.

Inevitably labouring as the match passed two and a half hours, Murray refused to surrender to his aching body and dug deep to save two match points at 4-5.

But fatigue finally got the better of him when a tired double fault handed Kyrgios a win that leaves Murray to concentrate on building his stamina ahead of next month’s Wimbledon.

AFP

Andy Murray Suffers Setback In Race To Be Fit For Wimbledon

Murray (file)

 

Andy Murray’s hopes of being fit enough to play at Wimbledon have taken a fresh hit after he pulled out of his planned comeback next week in the Netherlands.

The former world number one, who has not played a competitive match since he was knocked out of the Wimbledon quarter-finals last July due to a hip injury, underwent surgery in Australia in January after pulling out of the Australian Open.

“Unfortunately I won’t be ready to play in Hertogenbosch,” the British three-time Grand Slam champion posted on his Facebook page.

“I was really excited to play there for the first time but I’m still not quite ready to return. I am still aiming to play in the coming weeks, but I want to be 100 percent when I do return. Thanks as always for the support.”

Having only just returned to the practice courts, Murray faces a race against time to be fit for Wimbledon, which starts on July 2.

The 31-year-old will make a decision on whether he will enter Queen’s, in London, which begins on June 18, next week.

“Andy Murray has to withdraw from the Libema Open. The former world number one has not recovered in time from his hip operation in January and will have to postpone his comeback on the ATP tour,” said a statement on the tournament’s website.

Murray, who has slipped to 47th in the world, said in a promotional video released Tuesday that he was “getting closer” to playing again following his frustratingly long injury lay-off.

“It’s been very slow,” he said in the video. “I’ve been out getting close to a year now, which is a lot longer than I think me and any of my team kind of expected at the beginning but I’m getting closer to playing again.

“I’ve started training a few days ago. I’m hoping to make my comeback during the grass-court season.”

Murray, who has won two Wimbledon titles, said he was hoping to play at the Grand Slam event and hopes to be in contention again.

“I’m hoping I’ll be there but Roger Federer has obviously got a phenomenal record on grass,” said Murray. “He’ll definitely be up there as one of the favourites,” he added.

AFP

Nadal, Murray Lead Strongest Ever Queen’s Line-up

Nadal, Murray Lead Strongest Ever Queen's Line-up
(Files) Spain’s Rafael Nadal plays a backhand return during a match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament in Monaco on April 20, 2018. YANN COATSALIOU / AFP

 

Spain’s world number one Rafael Nadal heads what organisers say is the most formidable line-up for Queen’s, the historic grass tournament in London that is a key warm-up event for Wimbledon.

Aside from Nadal and five others from the present top 10, the tournament is likely to see Britain’s two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray — a five-time winner of the Queen’s title — play as he makes a comeback after hip surgery.

Other stars who are presently outside the top 10 such as Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios and Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka — who needs the Wimbledon title to complete a sweep of Grand Slam titles — have also confirmed they will play as will last year’s champion Feliciano Lopez.

“To see six of the world’s top 10 players on our entry list before you even get to the names Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic, Feliciano Lopez, Nick Kyrgios and the British number one Kyle Edmund really whets the appetite for a fantastic week of tennis,” said tournament director Stephen Farrow.

“We can’t wait to get started.”

The tournament runs from June 18-24.

AFP

Andy Murray Deposed As British Number One

 

Madrid Open: Andy Murray Qualifies For Third Round
FILE PHOTO  Andy Murray

 

Two-time Wimbledon winner Andy Murray has lost his status as Britain’s number one for the first time since 2006 after he was overtaken by Kyle Edmund in the ATP rankings released on Monday.

Edmund has moved up to 24th place as he reaps the benefit of reaching the Australian Open semi-finals, while former world number one Murray, out injured since January and recovering from a hip operation, drops eight places to 29th.

Juan Martin del Potro moves up one place to eighth after he beat big-serving Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 to win the Mexican Open on Sunday.

1. Roger Federer (SUI) 10,060 pts

2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 9,460

3. Marin Cilic (CRO) 4,870

4. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 4,635

5. Alexander Zverev (GER) 4,540

6. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 3,810

7. David Goffin (BEL) 3,280

8. Juan Martín Del Potro (ARG) 3,200 (+1)

9. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 3,080 (-1)

10. Jack Sock (USA) 2,650

11. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 2,475 (+1)

12. Lucas Pouille (FRA) 2,455 (+3)

13. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 2,380

14. Pablo Carreño (ESP) 2,315

15. Tomáš Berdych (CZE) 2,275 (+2)

16. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2,255 (+7)

17. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 2,220 (+1)

18. John Isner (USA) 2,205 (+1)

19. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2,190 (+1)

20. Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 2,125 (-4)

Selected

24. Kyle Edmund (GBR) 1,642 (+1)

29. Andy Murray (GBR) 1,460 (-8)

AFP

Murray Pulls Out Of Brisbane Tournament

Former world number one Andy Murray has withdrawn from the season-opening Brisbane International in a major setback to his Australian Open preparations.

He suffered a right hip injury in 2017 and has not played on the ATP tour since losing a tough five-setter to American Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

Murray said on Sunday he felt in great shape and that he was confident he would play in Brisbane.

But the 30-year-old Scot issued a statement Tuesday announcing his withdrawal from the tournament and did not say whether he would be able to play the year’s first Grand Slam.

Murray said he would stay in Brisbane as he “works towards returning to the tennis circuit”.

“I’m very disappointed to be withdrawing from the Brisbane International,” he added.

“I came here with every intention of making a strong start to the year, but sadly my team and I don’t feel that I’m where I need to be just yet to compete at the highest level.”

Murray joins top seed and world number one Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of the tournament late last week, on the sidelines.

AFP