Andy Murray says he plans to retire after this year’s Wimbledon but fears next week’s Australian Open could be the final tournament of his career.
The three-time Grand Slam winner, who has been sidelined with a hip injury, was in tears at a news conference in Melbourne on Friday.
“I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months,” said the 31-year-old Scot.
“I want to get to Wimbledon and stop but I’m not certain I can do that.”
However, Murray says he still intends to play his Australian Open first-round match against Spanish 22nd seed Roberto Bautista Agut next week.
The British former world number one had surgery on his right hip last January and has played 14 matches since returning to the sport last June.
“I’m not feeling good, I’ve been struggling for a long time,” he said in the emotion-laden news conference.
“I’ve been in a lot of pain for about 20 months now. I’ve pretty much done everything I could to try and get my hip feeling better and it hasn’t helped loads.
“I’m in a better place than I was six months ago but I’m still in a lot of pain. I can still play to a level, but not a level I have played at.
“The pain is too much really.
“I need to have an end point because I’m playing with no idea of when the pain will stop.
“I’d like to play until Wimbledon – that’s where I’d like to stop playing – but I’m not certain I’m able to do that.”
Murray, who is also a two-time Olympic champion, was knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours list at the end of 2016.
The tributes have been pouring in from fellow players and fans since his stunning announcement.
.@andy_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
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
Andy Murray is a legend – without doubt one of Scotland’s greatest ever sportsmen, as well as an outstanding role model and inspiration for young people everywhere. A credit to sport and to the country. Sending him very best wishes. https://t.co/FAWIv1hbxF
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 11, 2019
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
Nobody has done more for British tennis than you and it looks like nobody will for many years to come. You have been an inspiration, friend and role model to me from the get go and I thank you for everything. Hope to see you out there for as long as possible @andy_murray 🎾 pic.twitter.com/xkxUXf1lOb
— Kyle Edmund (@kyle8edmund) January 11, 2019