MELBOURNE, Australia — A tearful Andy Murray says the Australian Open could be his last tournament because of a hip injury that has hampered him for almost two years.
The three-time Grand Slam champion says he plans to start his opening match against No. 22-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open, where he has reached the final five times but never won the title.
“I’m going to play (in Australia) – I can still play to the level,” Murray said. “Not a level I’m happy playing at – but also, it’s not just that. The pain is too much really.”
Murray had right hip surgery in January 2018 and, after two brief attempts to return to the tour, played only 12 matches in the year.
He returned at the Brisbane International last week, where he won his opening match but lost in the second round to Daniil Medvedev, showing visible signs of limping between points.
The 31-year-old Murray, who ended long Grand Slam droughts for British men and also won the Olympic gold medal, had hoped to play the first half of 2019 and make a run at Wimbledon.
“That’s where I’d like to stop playing … but I’m also not certain I’m able to do that,” Murray said. “I don’t want to continue playing that way. I’ve tried everything I could to get it right and that hasn’t worked.”
Murray held a news conference Friday at Melbourne Park, and had to leave the room for a while soon after it started to compose himself as he fronted the media.
He said he’s considering another hip operation, more to improve his quality of life than as a way to return to the top level in tennis.
The Australian Open starts Monday.