Holding back tears, three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray announced his retirement from tennis at a news conference Thursday. It’s unclear exactly when he’ll be walking away from the sport, but it will likely be sometime in 2019.
Murray, 31, struggled to share the news at the Australian Open in Melbourne, which he withdrew from last year due to injury. “Obviously I have been struggling a long time and I have been in a lot of pain for probably about 20 months now,” Murray said, referring to his persistent hip issues. “I’ve pretty much done everything that I could to try to get my hip feeling better and it hasn’t helped loads.”
Murray said he made the decision back in December while struggling through a pre-season training camp. “I said to my team, ‘Look, I think I can kind of get through this until Wimbledon.’ That was where I’d like to stop playing. But I’m also not certain I’m able to do that.” He will continue playing through the Australian Open, noting, “I can still play to a level, not a level I’m happy playing at. The pain is too much, really, and I don’t want to continue playing that way.”
When asked if the Australian Open could be his last tournament, Murray said, “Yes there’s a chance of that for sure because I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months.” He emphasized that he would prefer Wimbledon to be his final tournament.
Support immediately poured in from friends and fans around the world. Two-time Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova tweeted, “Thank you for being such an inspiration @andy_murray. Your hard work and perseverance taught me so much. Hopefully you get to retire on our favourite court @wimbledon. We will all be cheering for you these next few months.”
One of the most touching tributes came from Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios. “You will always be someone that impacted the sport in so many different ways,” wrote Kyrgios on Instagram. “You are one crazy tennis player, miles better than me, but I just want you to know that today isn’t only a sad day for you and your team, it’s a sad day for the sport and for everyone you’ve had an impact on.”
“Your greatest impact on the world may be yet to come. Your voice for equality will inspire future generations,” said former world No. 1 tennis player Billie Jean King.
Current world No. 2 Rafael Nadal congratulated him on his incredible career.
“Hope he will make it through to Wimbledon and have the farewell he deserves,” tweeted former tennis player Kim Clijsters.
“Tennis will come to an end for us all but the friendships will last a lifetime,” tweeted tennis player Grigor Dimitrov.”
“Tennis is better with you,” tweeted current world No. 6 Kevin Anderson.
“I hope you can overcome this. You deserve to retire on your own terms, whenever that happens,” said current world No. 5 Juan Martín del Potro.
This article was originally published by CBS News on Jan. 11. 2019.