Andy Murray’s emotional message as his Olympic dream dies – now what happens next?

Andy Murray in action

It wasn’t the retirement announcement some have speculated may be imminent, but it was a clear sign that Andy Murray is not expecting to be playing top level tennis for much longer.

Murray’s bid for a fourth Olympic medal ended with defeat in the men’s doubles in the quarter-finals in Tokyo after he and partner Joe Salisbury were beaten by Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig in the quarter-finals.

What followed from the 34-year-old Murray was an emotional Twitter message that confirmed he had probably played his last game in the Olympics, after a career that has seen him claim two gold medals in singles and a silver in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson in London 2012.

“I feel crushed after today’s loss,” wrote Murray. “Sport can be brutal.

“Thanks so much Joe Salisbury for the opportunity to play. You were brilliant. I wish it could have gone a little better but s*** happens. 

“And if this is the end of my Olympics journey I want to say a huge thanks to Team GB and all the tennis support team for everything they have done to help me perform at my best over the years. 

“It’s been an absolute privilege to represent you and my country at 4 Olympics and it’s given me some of the best memories of my life.”

This was a pretty emotive message from a champion who has fought so hard to overcome injuries to get back on court and now the next question will be what come next for Murray and will his next announcement confirm his magnificent tennis career is coming to an end.

Murray has already confirmed he will need to take a break from the sport after the Olympics to overcome the latest injury that forced him to pull out of the Olympics singles event earlier this week.

With the US Open less than a month away, there are no suggestions from Murray’s camp that he is preparing to fly to America to get himself ready to play at the final Grand Slam event of 2021.

If Murray’s chief aims for this year were to play at Wimbledon once again and then take part in his final Olympics, both of those boxes have been ticked and the fluctuating fortunes he enjoyed and endured in both events have left more questions than answers about his hopes of returning to somewhere near his best.

Murray hinted after his heavy loss against Denis Shapovalov in the third round at Wimbledon that he might have to consider his future if he couldn’t get himself on the court consistently enough to build up momentum and find his best form.

We are about to discover whether Murray still believes that is possible after everything he has been through over the last four years.