Andy Murray, 31, suddenly announces he will retire this year at Wimbledon

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The last time I wrote about British tennis star Andy Murray, it was last summer, when he was playing the tournament in Washington DC, and his brutal, three-hour match ended in the wee hours of the morning. After the match, Andy waved to the remaining fans left, then sat down in his changeover chair and wept into a towel for what felt like ten full minutes. The cameras stayed on him, and it became a viral moment – a grown man, exhausted and victorious, full-on crying. The tears were because of that match, but they also came during Andy’s attempt at a comeback last year, after he had been dealing with a major hip injury. He had surgery about a year ago, then months of physical rehab, and he played for about five months on grass and hard courts last year, trying to play the sport he loved so much.

Fans knew that Andy’s body still wasn’t 100%, and that he was still feeling pain and he was still doing a lot of work to get back to any kind of level. He arrived in Australia a few weeks ago to prepare for the Australian Open, and he’s been doing practice sessions and practice matches with other players this week. Then, Friday morning in Melbourne, Andy walked into the press conference room at the AO and began to weep. Andy is still in so much pain, he’s going to retire this year. AO might be his last tournament. He expressed a desire to be allowed to retire – officially – at Wimbledon this year (this video is really difficult if you’re a tennis fan or Andy Murray fan, and he’s crying before he even starts talking):

He did a one-on-one statement a bit later:

The statements and reactions began pouring in immediately. Even though Andy is known for being grumpy and savage, he’s also one of the most well-liked players among his peers, both men and women. He’s also arguably one of the most important British athletes of all time, the first British male winner of Wimbledon in 77 years (and he won Wimbledon twice), and a militant feminist ally for tennis and sports in general. People are upset not just because he’s retiring so suddenly, but because it really doesn’t feel like he’s retiring on his terms. It’s devastating.


Andy Murray Live at the Hydro

Photos courtesy of WENN, Getty, Avalon Red.

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38 Responses to “Andy Murray, 31, suddenly announces he will retire this year at Wimbledon”

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  1. xdanix says:

    Can’t begin to put into words how devastated I am at the news. I knew it was bad for him, but I honestly didn’t see this coming, not now, not like this. I haven’t been able to stop crying on and off since we heard the news late last night.

    God bless Andy- on his best form he was one of the very best players in the game, but he was and is one of the very best HUMANS in the game all the time. This is a huge loss for tennis, and I am so, so sad that after he’s given everything he has to the game since he was just a kid, that he doesn’t get to go out on his own terms. He deserves so much more than this, and it says an awful lot about him that this news has been met with such love and affection from both male and female tennis players around the world, and such a strong feeling that people want better for him than this. There’s a lot of love for you out there Sir Andy, and it is 100% earned and deserved.

    (I know he says he may not make it to the summer to say goodbye. But… can’t they just… GIVE him one last match at Wimbledon? He deserves to say goodbye with a match- a WIN- on Centre. I don’t think I can take the thought that he’s played his last match there already.
    I don’t care how fixed it is. I don’t care if whoever he plays against stands there with one hand tied behind his back. I don’t care if he can’t play a match to qualify between now and then. (Well, I do, but you know what I mean.) Can’t they just give him a goodbye match on Centre and let him have one last win?)

    • AnnaS says:

      I know you don’t mean that last paragraph literally and I do understand your sentiment, still I don’t think that anything less than a full deserved win would satisfy Andy.
      I hope he plays some amazing tennis on AO on Monday, but I also know that his opponent is a tough draw (Bautista Augut just won a torunament against Djokovic in the final) and it may not end in a win.
      All the best, sir Andy!

      • xdanix says:

        I know you’re right about Andy not being satisfied with being “let win” in a normal match, but I guess I didn’t even necessarily mean a competitive match? Even a fun exhibition along the lines of the charity ones he put on at Queens a couple of times, or the Rally for Relief they played that time in 2011 (although obviously a lot more emotions would be at play here) would be something I’d be thinking of.

        Everyone knows it’s over for him competitively- even if he makes it past RBA (I’m like you, I don’t expect it will happen), he won’t win the next one after that. He’s won his last Slam, his last tournament, he’s likely won his last competitive match. Certainly, his loss to Sam Querrey is now marked as the last time he could really compete at Wimbledon. But to have one last goodbye, bathed in the sun (hopefully) at Centre Court where he changed tennis history? He deserves that much at least. And if it was up to me, yes- I would want whoever played him to let him win the last point, not because it would really matter, but just because I think he DOES deserve to get to say goodbye that way. Real or not real, it wouldn’t even matter at that point. I think he’d be far past caring about whether it was a satisfying win or not. It’ll be time to say goodbye at that point. It’s sad enough that he’s being forced out like this- I think he deserves to get to have that “winning” moment one last time.

        (I know most likely it will never happen. Wimbledon’s carefully-plotted schedule probably wouldn’t allow for it. But god, I wish they would just this once.)

  2. Lucy says:

    Can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to make that decision. I hope he’s okay (or as okay as he can be).

  3. Lightpurple says:

    I woke up to this news on the radio this morning. I felt like someone had died. So sorry to hear this but he needs to do what is right for his body. Chronic pain can be so disabling. I do hope he can make it to Wimbledon and go out in a blaze of glory at home but i suspect that he will still fight for equality on and off the tennis court.

  4. Sarah says:

    Equally talented as his friend Djokovic, yet ended up with 11 less Grand Slam titles. Unfortunately, he just wasn’t mentally tough enough. Still, he’s easily a Hall of Famer.

    • xdanix says:

      I don’t think it’s very kind to say he wasn’t mentally tough enough. Maybe he wasn’t AS mentally strong as Djokovic, Federer, or Nadal- his brain did seem to check out on him from time to time!- but he had plenty of mental strength of his own. He would never have been able to go up against those guys for over a decade, or have had half the career he did, without it. This is a good read if you’re interested, outlining what an achievement it was just for Murray to achieve what he did:

      (It’s written in the wake of this news as a tribute to him, so of course emotion enters into it. But I still think it’s a pretty good account of things all the same.)

    • Maya says:

      Djokovic may have more grand slams but Murray a is a much better man than Djokovic.

      Djokovic is the sexiest while Murray is the feminist. That’s all I have to say on this matter.

    • Bex says:

      Truthfully, Murray wasn’t quite as talented as Djokovic. More imagination, but his forehand wasn’t as strong, he wasn’t as flexible, and that second serve was a glaring weakness Novak doesn’t have. But Djokovic also did not have the constant pressure of the awful British press bearing down on him every time he lost so much as a point, and for Murray to come through that after so many losses in Grand Slam finals shows tremendous mental strength and an iron will. Most players whine about playing in the Big 3 era, and Andy would have a better case to do so than all of them having come up against Fed and Djok in final after final after final, but he never did. Just grit his teeth instead.

      But more than that, he’s the most decent man and the only vocal feminist among active players. He deserves a better ending than this.

  5. Becks1 says:

    This is really sad. Like others said, I’m sorry that he’s not going out on his own terms. It sucks to be forced out by your own body.

    • Agirlandherdog says:

      This exactly. I don’t follow tennis, but I feel for him. I used to be incredibly active. Nowhere close to an elite athlete (so I can’t even begin to imagine how he’s feeling right now), but I felt strong, like I could take on the world and win. Then life happened, and now walking my dogs can be a challenge some days. Hell, sometimes I can’t even put my own socks on. When your body fails you, it’s the ultimate betrayal. And living in chronic pain… it’s something you can’t understand until you live it.

  6. Miss M says:

    It is heartbreaking to know you need to stop doing what you love. I hope he can overcome the pain. Sending lots of hugs and support to Andy who has always supported women in tennis.

  7. Kittycat says:

    More time with his daughters at least

  8. Shutterbug says:

    Feel so bad for Andy. He’s a good guy. I had a feeling this was coming. The writing’s been on the wall for a while and I read he looked very short of fitness in a practice match against Djokovic a few days ago. His first round match at AO could possibly be his last competitive game. The end of an era is upon us tennis fans. My gut feeling is that Rafa will be next to announce retirement. His injuries are really mounting up. (I’m a huge Rafa fan).

    • Slowsnow says:

      First Andy then Rafa?? Kill me now.

      (And yes, Rafa has been piling up injuries and I also feel he will retire soon unfortunately. I wonder if it’s because he started competing above his age very early on.).

    • Miss M says:

      Last AO, I had a feeling Federer was preparing to retire. His speech was so emotional.

  9. Ninks says:

    I’m a huge fan of Andy Murray, and I was feeling really emotional watching the press conference this morning.

  10. diana says:

    I’m so gutted and I can’t imagine what Andy must feel. He really was a stand up guy. A casual feminist to boost. I’m a huge fan of his and this sucks. I especially admired the fact that he was never ashamed to show raw emotions on the court.
    Him along with Federer were always the main reason I’d watch the ATP. My interest in the men’s tour has now dropped by 50%.

    • hindulovegod says:

      I enjoy watching this grumpy gus. He’s one of the grittiest players on tour. But I love and respect his casual feminism. He sets an example the men’s tour needs, and I hope he continues to be involved in the sport.

  11. Laur says:

    Not a massive tennis fan but always liked him, liked his supposed grumpiness, his determination, his standing up for others, all of it. I had a feeling this was coming though, he’s never quite got back there since the injury. I remember watching Wimbledon when he first won and willing him on, that was a huge sporting moment in the UK.

  12. Biggles says:

    He was a superb athlete (and absolutely deserving of the ‘Big Four’ inclusion damnit) but even more so he was an incredible man – I love that half of the odes from fellow players, particularly the women, pay homage to all that he has done for his fellow players. I am really really gutted personally and will miss him dearly – I come from a family of devoted tennis players and fans but resisted playing myself up until 2012, when Andy’s courage, commitment, and heart (and tears) came to the forefront in that heart breaking Wimbledon loss and glorious Olympics comeback. Seven years later and I’m a part of my tennis community, ladies captain of my club (trying to emulate Andy’s revolutionary ways in an unfortunately quite sexist system), and my social life and fitness is reformed – and I feel that I owe so much of that to Andy. I was there the last time he won Queens, and I wish I could be there for more.

    My own self pity aside, I am gutted for him, his family, his team and all his fans (although a little perversely I am interested to hearing Judy’s statement – she must be heartbroken but she always has wise words), and how devastating for him that he has been forced from something he loves so much; my hopes are that he’ll be back at Wimbledon, if just for an exhibition type event, or if not that he’ll be back as a commentator or coach – I could see him coaching a woman player, and that seems like a excellent way to carry on his off court legacy.

  13. Lolafalana says:

    This is super sad! We always made fun of Murray’s tendency to moan and hunch over and roll his eyes in matches. As a family we would imitate him in regular conversation. But we always respected his game – and loved to watch him play. I’m going to cross my fingers for a comeback down the road (might be very wishful thinking).

  14. Lisa says:

    Sad news. He can be proud of his career and I wish him the best in this new phase of his life.

  15. Anna says:

    Unfortunately, there’s nothing sudden about it. It sucks that his own body wouldn’t let him play anymore.

  16. Pandy says:

    Not the saddest story I’ve heard today. Multi millionaire retires. Shrug.

  17. Tina says:

    I really love Andy Murray (as a human being, not just a tennis player) and I’m so sad to hear this news. But he leaves an amazing legacy. To win Wimbledon as a British player, not once but twice, is a feat of mental strength that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in sport (Serena Williams winning the AO whilst pregnant is up there too). Wimbledon in the UK dominates the UK news during its fortnight in a way that I don’t know if I can explain. It goes way beyond tennis. The pressure on him was immense. I actually think that’s one of the reasons why he was able to win his two Olympic gold singles’ medals, because the Olympic pressure was nothing compared to what he had been through.

  18. snappyfish says:

    I have always liked Andy. I was v v sad to hear this and to see him so emotional. I truly hopes he makes it to Wimbledon so he can go out as he want and not before

  19. K.T says:

    It’s much better to retire well than trying to make it to one more match and take years of added injury in retirement…living without constant pain after competing is just as a big part of elite athletes journey and people forget how important it is that we take care of the athlete after competing too. He’s given so much to give to the sport & the public and has so much more to give in terms of education, teaching, speaking, commentating and just being an amazing human being. Andy (so hot still) wishing him the best!

  20. Juliet says:

    What a sweet, precious boy Andy is! I love him to bits and I’m absolutely gutted he has to leave the sport he loves. And so what if he cried? He’s got such a loving heart I’m not surprised he cried. Still, at least his mum was there to comfort him this time. I wanted to give him a hug when he got upset – so it’s nice to hear that she did – after being nowhere to be seen when he cried at the Citi Open last summer. When he plays his final match, that’s when we’ll really see him cry. Bet they’ll put a box of Kleenex out on the court – he’ll need them to wipe his eyes and blow his nose.

    • Juliet says:

      He’s a lovely boy, Nan. Whenever I see him crying, I just want to give him a comforting hug and wipe his tears away for him – he’s such a sweet boy.

  21. Nan says:

    Ugh. Crushing. I hope he channels his grief into gettng heavily involved in philanthropic work, political activism, and leadership. I hate sports and have never watched tennis in my life, but I absolutely love this man and what he brings to the table. He is a true feminist, a true ally, and a damn fine human being. Pretty good at tennis from what I read, too. 😉

  22. OCE says:

    Love Andy Murray- so elegant and thoughtful. His Wimbledon win will forever be in my top 3 sports moments in history. PS: can we please not give Ben Rothenberg any space – he is a racist POS. #AskanySerenaFan

  23. Juliet says:

    You can’t NOT love Andy. He’s so loving, honest and humble. Anybody who doesn’t like him is a troll. I loved his two Wimbledon wins and I sat up until 2am when he won in Rio. No wonder his gran just wants to hug him – he’s such a sweet boy. God bless you and yours forever Andy. Lots of love- forever your fan – Juliet.