Andy Murray: Pain could force retirement after Australian Open

Injury-plagued former world No. 1 Andy Murray has said he'll retire from professional tennis this year. The Scottish star said this month's Australian Open could be his last tournament.

In a tearful press conference on Friday, Andy Murray confirmed he would play in the first round of the Australian Open next week, but said he wasn't sure how much longer he could continue.

The former world No. 1 had hip surgery in 2018 after prolonged problems with the joint. Despite his efforts to return to the highest level, Murray has played only 12 matches in the past year.

The three-time Grand Slam winner broke down during his announcement and at one point had to leave the room. 

"I can play with limitations. But having the limitations and the pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing or training," Murray told journalists in Melbourne, ahead of the Australian Open.

Sports | 11.07.2016

The 31-year-old said he had trained with the goal of making a final run at Wimbledon, the tournament in which he ended a 77-year drought for British men. However, Murray said he now wasn't sure he would make it that far.

Murray ended a 77-year-old barren spell for British men's tennis with his 2013 Wimbledon victory

"I can still play to a level — not a level I'm happy playing at," he said. "But also, it's not just that. The pain is too much really."

Fellow tennis stars like Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro paid tribute on Twitter, with Roddick hoping Murray might at least be able to play doubles with his brother at Wimbledon as a farewell. 

Long considered part of the "Big Four" in men's tennis — along with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic — he looks set to be the youngest of them to retire. Murray won his first major title in 2012, defeating Novak Djokovic in the US Open Final, before winning Wimbledon in 2013 and again in 2016. He also picked up Olympic gold in 2012 and 2016.

Murray is scheduled to open against number 22-ranked Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut at Melbourne Park, where the Australian Open begins on Monday. Although Murray has reached the tournament final five times, he has never won it.

Murray opened this season last week at the Brisbane International, winning his opening match against Australian James Duckworth. However, he lost in the second round to Russia's Daniil Medvedev, obviously limping.

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