LONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 11 – 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.
AFP Sport looks at five memorable moments in the 31-year-old Scotsman’s career:
Murray wins hearts
The third round at the 2008 edition of Wimbledon could be seen as the moment the then 21-year-old Murray gained the respect and affection of the home crowd.
Two sets down against the talented but mentally fragile Frenchman Richard Gasquet, Murray roused the crowd and clawed his way back in the gathering gloom to overcome his opponent in five sets and reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final.
“That was the best moment I’ve ever had on a tennis court. To come back from two sets to love and win it is an awesome feeling,” said Murray.
From Grand Slam bridesmaid to bridegroom
Murray’s breakthrough in terms of transforming himself from a Grand Slam finalist — he had lost in four finals — to a champion came on the hard courts at the 2012 US Open beating Novak Djokovic in an epic five setter.
This time it was Murray who surrendered a two-set advantage. However, showing his extraordinary mental strength — he had not lost when holding a two-set lead since losing to David Nalbandian at Wimbledon in 2005 — he rattled off the decisive final set 6-2.
“When I realised I had won, I was a little bit shocked, I was very relieved and I was very emotional,” said Murray.
Murray puts Perry out to grass
British tennis had waited 77 years for a homegrown player to win their Grand Slam event on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
Tim Henman had given home fans a decent run without lifting the trophy and Murray lost the 2012 final to Roger Federer.
But in 2013 Murray defeated Novak Djokovic — who had beaten him earlier in the year in the Australian Open — after converting his fourth match point at the end of three hours of duelling to deliver the Holy Grail to 15,000 spectators packed into Centre Court.
He sank to his knees in celebration, watched as ever by his proud mother Judy.
“Roger is probably the greatest player ever, Novak is one of the mentally strongest ever. I never had experience on my side. To beat him was so tough; it was such a tough match,” said Murray.
Golden Olympic history
The Olympic title may not carry any prize money but the joy on Murray’s face when he beat Roger Federer in straight sets in the 2012 singles final showed how much he treasured it.
His biggest win to date had the added pleasure of coming on the same Wimbledon Centre Court where only weeks earlier he had lost to the same opponent in the final.
“It’s number one for me — the biggest win of my life,” said Murray. “I have had a lot of tough losses in my career and this is the best way to come back from the Wimbledon final.”
Murray was to defend his title and become the first man to win two singles golds when he outlasted Juan Martin del Potro in a gruelling final in Rio four years later, with both players reduced to sobbing into their towels at the end.
“This was tough emotionally and physically, there were lots of ups and downs. This was much harder to win than London four years ago,” said Murray.
Driving force behind Davis Cup glory
Murray ended another long wait for British tennis fans when in 2015 he all but single-handedly delivered the Davis Cup for Britain after a 79-year hiatus.
Murray won his opening singles and teamed up in the doubles with brother Jamie to put them 2-1 up against Belgium in Ghent before sealing victory with a singles win on the Sunday over Daniel Goffin.
He was smothered by his team-mates before being lifted into the air. “I probably haven’t been as emotional as that after a match that I’ve won,” said Murray.