Troubled by a hip injury, the triple grand slam-winner announced on the eve of the Australian Open on Friday that he will retire at Wimbledon in July – if he can get it.
Indeed, the 31-year-old Scot admitted that the first major of the year could be his last event, such as the state of his surgically repaired right hip.
He left his press conference in tears, one day after the Telegraph reported that Murray looked like a shadow of his old self when he was defeated by his childhood friend and current world number 1, Novak Djokovic, during a training session in Melbourne Park.
"I can play with limitations, but with the limitations and the pain I can not enjoy competitions or training," Murray said, to the 230th place in the ranking. "Wimbledon is where I would like to stop playing, but I'm not sure if I can.
"Not feeling good, wrestling for a long time, I'm not sure if I can endure the pain for another four or five months.
"I did pretty much everything I could to try to make my hip feel better and it did not help much, I think the Australian Open is my last tournament."
Murray deserves the sender at Wimbledon, probably the place of his greatest triumphs.
In 2013 he became the first British man since Fred Perry won the legendary grass-court moon 77 years earlier – Djokovic defeated in the final – before he collected a second title in 2016.
"If Andy has the wind in the sails in the coming months, the tennis world will lose a big competitor, but he will leave a dose of real grit that we can all learn from," said Ivan Lendl, Murray & # 39; s coach during his biggest triumphs CNN.
Murray's two evenings at Wimbledon captivated a British audience that regularly, in sporting terms, concentrated on football. As the only prominent British player from Great Britain for most of his career, the pressure he had on the All England Club was both intense and immense.
"He deserves his time to say goodbye to Wimbledon. He is too important for the history of Great Britain and Wimbledon not to have it", said former number one Andy Roddick on Twitter. "Would be a pretty cool moment to double up with his brother in Wimby (if he can not play singles," the American added, referring to Murray's older brother, specialist Jamie doubled.
But Murray also enjoyed elsewhere the weaving of the magic of his varied repertoire.
Claiming Olympic gold in 2012 at Wimbledon liberated Murray and paved the way for his first grand slam success at the US Open a month later – the Serb on the other side of the net – after losing all four of his earlier finals. Lendl, the winner of the eight times grand slam, proved to be the key in bringing out the best in the Dunblane mother tongue.
"He always left it on the field and I look back with great feelings on the years we worked together and that was fun, full of excitement," said Lendl, who went through his own health problems near the end of his life. "I feel honored to be part of his team and to enable him to achieve as many of his goals as possible."
When he was again on top of the podium in Rio in 2016, Murray became the first man to land back-to-back olympic tennis singles golds.
That 2016 campaign turned out to be the latest state of Murray at the start of the game. And what a statement that was. He finished the season at number 1 for the first and only time of his career.
Since he competes in the same era as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic – three of the best players ever to win a combined 51 majors – it was still a phenomenal achievement.
On the eve of 2017 Murray received a proper knighthood for his tennis performances and charity work.
"Absolute legend," Roddick said. "A short list of the best tacticians in history, unreal results in a brutal era … nothing but respect here, I hope he can be strong and healthy."
That is the hope, but Murray's condition suggests otherwise.
His physical playing style had taken a toll in recent years, but nothing more than in the last two years. After a five-time loss against Sam Querrey at Wimbledon in 2017, when Murray visibly wrestled with his movement, he closed his season.
He then underwent a hip operation in Australia in January, but did not return until June and completely defeated Wimbledon. You only have to ask Lleyton Hewitt, a former number 1, just how harmful hip injuries can be.
Murray showed promising glances in Washington during the building of the US Open and when taking Spaniard Fernando Verdasco to five sets in New York.
However, he started in 2018 by giving a direct defeat to Russian Daniil Medvedev in the second round at Brisbane International after a spell in Philadelphia to make the hip better.
His first outing against Roberto Bautista Agut – champion in Doha last week when the Spaniard saddled Djokovic on the way – could be the last time that tennis sees Murray on the field.
"When you look for examples of" emptied, the bucket might be as good as they could be "there should be a picture of Andy Murray under that quote," said Darren Cahill on Twitter, one from Hewitt & # 39 ; s ex-coaches. "Remarkable discipline for training, competition, sacrifice, perfection, a bit crazy, but a legend of a guy, Bravo Andy."