Andy Murray may have accidentally given a big retirement hint after Dubai win

Kevin Palmer
When will Andy Murray announce his retirement?
When will Andy Murray announce his retirement?

Andy Murray has given broad hints that he is reaching the end of his glorious career and he may have already put a circle in his diary around the date he is working towards.

The three-time Grand Slam champion is arguably Britain’s greatest sportsman of all-time, with his two Wimbledon titles ending the long wait for a homegrown winner at the All England Club.

His two Olympic gold medals and pivotal contribution to Great Britain’s 2015 Davis Cup win add to Murray’s spectacular legacy, but he has suffered a woeful run of form as he looks to battle his way back to the top after hip surgery in 2019.

Murray’s long losing run came to an end when he beat France’s Alexandre Muller in France last week, but he appeared to give a broad hint that he had lost faith in his ability to return to the top in his next match against teenager Jakub Mensik.

Murray has repeatedly said he is not ready to quit tennis after a miserable run of form in recent months, but the fierce competitor inside him will not be able to put up with too many more defeats like this, at one point appearing to shout to his team: “this game is not for me any more.”

Despite his latest disappointments, Murray has continued to enter tournaments in the next few months and he is on the list to play at a second-tier ATP Challenger event in Arizona next month.

Yet the Scot has confirmed he will end his career when he feels he is no longer in a position to make progress and with his ATP rankings currently going in the wrong direction, a decision may be imminent.

After his battling three-set win against Denis Shapovalov in Dubai on Monday, Murray may just have given the biggest hint yet that his career may be entering the final chapter.

He paused in his post-match interview as he said he was looking forward to his ‘last few months on the tennis tour, with those comments certain to fuel rumours that he may have already decided when to end his career.

It could be that Murray has already set a date in his mind when he will call time on his career and it could come as early as this July.

There have been well-sourced suggestions that Murray’s plan was always to play the full 2024 season and then consider his options at the end of this year, but that timetable could be moved forward unless his results take a rapid upturn.

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Murray has insisted he doesn’t want a long farewell to the game, but it would be fitting if his final match was played on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

The scene of Murray’s greatest triumphs as he won Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016, the hallowed grass court was also the venue for his 2012 Olympic Final win against Roger Federer.

The emotions would be running high if Murray brings down the curtain on his tennis story at Wimbledon, but it may be that he is now looking to enjoy the final few months on tour before he plays his final tournament at the All England Club in July.

In the opinion of respected Sky Sports Tennis commentator Jonathan Overend, Murray’s refusal to accept his glory days are over is the primary reason why he continues to strive for more.

“You look at it from the outside and feel one thing and then you try to put yourself in his shoes and you can understand why he keeps going,” Overend told Tennis365.

“This is his life, this is his passion. All he wants to do is play tennis and compete and no one should tell him to pack the rackets away and call it a day.

“He’ll know as well as anyone when the time is right to end it. He’s going through it and doesn’t need us to tell him it’s not going well.

“The second half of last year was tough for all of us to watch and he keeps having these early defeats, but I don’t see him changing his mindset.

“He decided to go through the pre-season programme again, got himself out to Australia and clearly still believes he can compete at the highest level.

“Deciding on what comes next at the end of the year would seem logical, but how much more misery can he take if he keeps losing in the first round of tournaments?

“He’s said he doesn’t want an open-top bus parade to end his career as that is not his style.

“Only he will know when the time is right and I think it is likely to hit him at some point and he wakes up and thinks that’s me done.