Britain’s Andy Murray says he plans to retire after this year’s Wimbledon but fears next week’s Australian Open could be the final tournament of his career.
The three-time Grand Slam winner, who is struggling to recover from hip surgery, was in tears at a news conference in Melbourne on Friday.
“I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months,” said the 31-year-old Scot.
“I want to get to Wimbledon and stop but I’m not certain I can do that.”
However, Murray says he still intends to play his Australian Open first-round match against Spanish 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut next week.
“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.”
He continued: “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.”
The Scot overcame bipartite patella, the medical term for the kneecap comprising of two separate bones instead of just one, diagnosed when he was 16, to become a professional tennis player.
The former world no.1 starts his Australian Open adventure against 22nd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut.
“I can still play to a level,” Murray added. “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 endpoint because I can’t keep playing with no idea when the pain will stop.”