An emotional Andy Murray has confirmed he will compete at Australian Open 2019, but the five-time Melbourne Park finalist has conceded his ongoing pain is too much, and hopes to call time on an astonishing career on home turf at Wimbledon this year.
The 2013 and 2016 Wimbledon champion, who is drawn to face 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round at AO 2019, fought back tears in his pre-tournament press conference on Friday following 20 months of gruelling rehabilitation on a troublesome right hip.
The 31-year-old underwent surgery on his hip back in January 2018, and has since struggled to recapture the staggering on-court form that saw him accumulate three Grand Slam singles crowns amongst his 45 career titles and two Olympic gold medals.
“Yeah, not great,” responded a tearful Murray regarding his physical welfare.
“I’ve been in a lot of pain for about 20 months now. I’ve tried everything I could to get my hip feeling better. It hasn’t helped loads, I’m in a better place than I was six months ago, but I’m still in a lot of pain. It’s been tough.”
Despite his obvious discomfort, Murray insisted he will take to the court to face Bautista Agut next week at Melbourne Park.
“I’m going to play,” he said.
“I can still play to a level, but not to a level that I’m happy at, but also it’s not just that. The pain is too much really. I don’t want to continue playing that way.
“In the middle of my training block back in December I spoke to my team, I told them that I can’t keep doing this, that I needed an end point, because I can’t keep playing with no idea when the pain will stop.”
Murray deserves a proper send-off, and competing at his home Grand Slam at SW19 would be a fitting finale for a true talisman of British sport.
“I told them (my team) that I’ll try and get through this until Wimbledon. That’s where I would like to stop playing, but I’m also not certain I’m able to do that,” admitted Murray, who guided Team GB to Davis Cup glory in 2015.
“I think there is a chance of that for sure because I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months,” the former world No.1 added when asked if it will be his final Wimbledon.
“I have the option to have another operation, which is a little bit more severe than I’ve had before, which is having my hip resurfaced. It would allow me to have a better quality of life, to be free of pain.
“That’s something I’m seriously considering right now, to then come back to competing, but there is obviously no guarantee with that.
“The reason to have that operation is not to return to professional sport, it’s just for a better quality of life.”