End of the road for tennis great Andy Murray?
After an unsuccessful surgery to correct a hip injury last January, British champion Andy Murray has announced in an emotional press conference that his Australian Open match next week may be his last.
"Not feeling good. Been struggling for a long time...I'm not sure I can play through the pain for another four or five months," the tearful tennis player said.
Murray, known as one of the 'Big Four' of the men's circuit along with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, hasn't been the same on the court since his gruelling 2016 campaign that saw him reach the upper echelons of the sport.
The Scot opened up that although he had played with some hip pain for much of his career, the discomfort became serious after his five-set loss in the 2017 French Open semifinal to Stan Wawrinka.
However for 31-year-old Murray, his original plan of playing one last time at Wimbledon seems to be but a dream.
“I am not sure I am able to play through the pain for another four or five months,” he said.
“I’ve been struggling for a long time. I have been in a lot of pain for probably about 20 months now. I have pretty much done everything that I could to try and get my hip feeling better. It hasn’t helped loads. I’m in a better place than I was six months ago, but still in a lot of pain. It has been tough.”
Murray's two decades long career however will be most remembered for his win at Wimbledon in 2013, when he became the first British male champion since Fred Perry in 1936.
He'll be remembered for his sheer determination on the court, his hard working strides that saw him win the Davis Cup, two Olympic golds and three Grand Slams.
Unfortunately, the Murray of 2019 is far from the Murray of 2013. For fans of the sport, it's hard to see Murray lose his spirit bit by bit.
The former world number 1 and three-time slam champion has fallen to 230 in the rankings, and he revealed that he could not even put on his shoes and socks because of the pain.
But Murray will and should be remembered for his punishing campaign launched against the 'Djoker' in 2016 that saw him climb to number one in the rankings. He should be remembered for giving the game his all at a time when many others gave up having to compete in the same space as the 'golden generation' of tennis greats, who have all made a place for themselves in the history of the sport.
For the former champion, Monday will be bittersweet. While he still has heart, his body has given up, and while he expects to lose against Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open - a final he has reach five times and lost - the world watching will hope he'll be able to triumph, mind over body.