Tributes pour after tearful Andy Murray announces retirement

By Sophie Lewis

/ CBS News

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 twenty 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."

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 👏 pic.twitter.com/EyYy2z71Ii

— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) January 11, 2019

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."

View this post on Instagram

Andy, I know you take me for a joker most of the time, but at least hear me out on this one old friend. You will always be someone that impacted the sport in so many different ways, I know this was never the way you wanted to go out, but hey it was a heck of a ride. You took me under your wing as soon as I got on tour, and to this day you have been someone I literally just look forward to seeing. 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. Which leaves me big fella.. these are a couple photos, that should make you smile and think, I was actually a little bit of a younger brother to you. Anyways, I just want you to know, and I’m sure you already do, everyone wants you to keep fighting and to keep being you. Goodluck at the Australian Open muzz, I’ll be behind you. #onelastdance 🙌🏽🙏🏽

A post shared by Kygs (@k1ngkyrg1os) 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.

[email protected]_murray You are a champion on and off the court. So sorry you cannot retire on your own terms, but remember to look to the future. Your greatest impact on the world may be yet to come. Your voice for equality will inspire future generations. Much love to you & your family. https://t.co/AQUOP3LGec

— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) January 11, 2019

Current world No. 2 Rafael Nadal congratulated him on his incredible career.

Congrats @andy_murray for all your achievements all these years. It was great to play against you all these years. Good luck with everything! https://t.co/BaOsYZ5KTo

— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) January 11, 2019

"Hope he will make it through to Wimbledon and have the farewell he deserves," tweeted former tennis player Kim Clijsters.

My heart breaks listening to @andy_murray during his press conference… Hope he will make it through to Wimbledon and have the farewell he deserves . #greatguy

— Kim Clijsters (@Clijsterskim) January 11, 2019

"Tennis will come to an end for us all but the friendships will last a lifetime," tweeted tennis player Grigor Dimitrov.

Tennis will come to an end for us all but the friendships will last a lifetime. What you’ve done for the sport will live on forever. I’m hoping for a strong and healthy finish for you, my friend! @andy_murray pic.twitter.com/Bcs0cdllJp

— Grigor Dimitrov (@GrigorDimitrov) January 11, 2019

"Tennis is better with you," tweeted current world No. 6 Kevin Anderson.

My thoughts are with @andy_murray and I really hope we continue to see you fighting on court so you can retire on your own terms. Get well soon… Tennis is better with you. pic.twitter.com/0z1401hKXe

— Kevin Anderson (@KAndersonATP) January 11, 2019

"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.

Andy, just watched your conference. Please don’t stop trying. Keep fighting. I can imagine your pain and sadness. I hope you can overcome this. You deserve to retire on your own terms, whenever that happens. We love you @andy_murray and we want to see you happy and doing well. 🙏

— Juan M. del Potro (@delpotrojuan) January 11, 2019

First published on January 11, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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