Andy Murray is still hoping to make it to one more Wimbledon tournament before his problematic hip forces him into retirement. For now, he's only committing to the Australian Open.
In an emotional news conference Friday, when a tearful Murray had to leave the room shortly after his first attempt to get it started, and needed to pause several times to compose himself once it had resumed, he confirmed he'd play his first-round match at the Australian Open next week but wasn't sure how much longer he could continue beyond that.
The 31-year-old Murray said he practiced in the offseason with the main goal of making one last run at Wimbledon, where he ended the 77-year drought for British men with his title in 2013, but now wasn't sure he'd make it that far.
“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.
“I don't want to continue playing that way. I tried pretty much everything that I could to get it right — that hasn't worked.”
The three-time Grand Slam champion is scheduled to open against No. 22-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut at Melbourne Park when the season-opening major begins Monday.
Getting through the first round will be a notable achievement for the former No. 1-ranked Murray, who has slumped to No. 230 after playing just 12 matches last year following surgery on his right hip in January.
He opened this season last week at the Brisbane International, where he won his opening match against James Duckworth but lost in the second round to Daniil Medvedev, showing visible signs of limping between points and struggling to move freely around court.
Murray has been preparing for 2019 knowing that his career could be over within months. Last month, he told his training and support staff that the pain was becoming too much and that he needed to set a date for retirement.
“I spoke to my team and I told them I can't keep doing this, that I needed to have an end point because [I was] sort of playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop,” he told the news conference Friday. “I said to my team `I think I can get through to Wimbledon'; that's where I would like to stop — stop playing.”
Murray added, becoming tearful again, “But I'm also not certain I'm able to do that.
“I'm not sure I'm able to play through the pain for another four of five months.”