Exclusive – Tim Henman responds to those urging Andy Murray to call time on his career

Andy Murray frustrated

Former British No 1 Tim Henman has backed Andy Murray to continue playing for “as long as he wants”, as he prepares to launch his US Open campaign against No.3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Murray is battling to defy his doubters as he attempts to bounce back from four years of injury issues, with the hip surgery he underwent in 2018 followed up by a series of additional injuries for the two-time Wimbledon champion.

Yet Henman has told Tennis365 that the former world No.1 has earned the right to decide when he wants to hang up his racket.

“After the four years he has had with all the injuries, you have to admire his dedication and determination to keep putting the work in required to play at the top level,” Henman told us at an Amazon Prime Video event.

“If you had a graph of Murray’s tennis over the last few months, the Murray of today beats the player who played in the first round at Queen’s back in June quite easily. He has clearly made progress.

“You can see that the little tournament play he has had and staying relatively injury-free gives him a chance to make progress and compete.

“So he should play for as long as he wants. There is plenty of time to be retired, so he doesn’t need to listen to people telling him to retire. He has earned the right to decide when that decision comes.”

Tim Henman on Amazon Prime Video

Henman is less optimistic about the prospect of Roger Federer making his return to the game after the 20-time Grand Slam champion announced earlier this month that he has undergone more knee surgery as he attempts to prolong his remarkable career.

“Comparing Andy Murray and Federer right now, I’d be more concerned about Roger’s future,” he added.

“Another knee surgery, he’s just had his 40th birthday and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we see him back at tour level, but I’d be much more optimistic of Murray and (Rafael) Nadal getting back to their best than Roger at this stage.

“He would be nearly 41 at Wimbledon next year and that is pushing it. I’m sure he would not want his last set of tennis to be a 6-0 loss against (Hubert) Hurkacz, but in the grand scheme of things, his legacy is going to be fantastic whether he plays again now or not.

“A lot of people talk about controlling the controllable. Hopefully, his fitness and his rehab gives him a chance to play again, but if it doesn’t, it won’t affect that he is one of the greatest players to ever play our sport.”

The US Open is available to watch on Prime Video from Monday 30th August