Comment: Best of British Andy Murray deserves so much better than forced finish
Reacting to the news that Andy Murray’s retirement may be imminent, Michael Graham hails a sportsman who has embodied the very best of Britain.
It was the news that no one wanted but, in our heart of hearts, we were all probably expecting.
On Thursday, a tearful Andy Murray sat before the assorted press and confirmed that he will participate in the Australian Open, but it may be his last tournament.
Furthermore, even if it isn’t, it won’t be long before that particular milestone is upon us.
“During my training block I spoke to my team and told them I can’t keep doing this,” Murray told the press through is tears.
“I said to my team, ‘Look, I think I can get through this until Wimbledon.’ That’s where I’d like to stop playing. But I’m also not certain I’m able to do that. I’m not sure I’m able to play through the pain for another four or five months.
It should be noted that Murray made no official declaration to retire. Perhaps all we were witnessing was an outpouring of pessimism from a naturally emotional man who has been obliged to put a brave face on for too long without tangible reward. No one could blame him.
Everyone, after all, has their breaking point. Perhaps we have just caught Murray at his.
Let us not forget, after all, that mere months ago Novak Djokovic was, by his own admission, strongly considering walking away from tennis. Now, he sits top of the world once again.
With Murray, though, it’s all feeling very real and tangible. Part of it is that the writing has been on the wall for quite some time with this.
But, mainly, because, let’s face it, anything that has the power to reduce Andy Murray to apparent surrender is unlikely to be beaten at all.
That’s heart-breaking, and the reason is because Murray, frankly, deserves better. He deserved to go out on his own terms playing the game he loves and loving playing it – and he’s not loving it, it’s hurting him. It’s the cruellest of irony.
And that’s because it is difficult to truly put into words just what Murray means to British sport.
VIDEO: Full press conference as Andy Murray announces plans to retire from tennis.https://t.co/4VfjgOYhMj
— Tennis365 (@T365Official) January 11, 2019
There are few events, sporting or otherwise, of which Britain is prouder than Wimbledon, and rightly so. It is an iconic tournament played in quintessentially British surroundings and is truly the most coveted prize in tennis.
Before Murray, though, it had become a torturous affair and annual reminder just how irrelevant in the tennis world British talent was. It was him who changed that. He gave us a contender, and he gave us a winner -twice. It was inspirational and it reignited a nation’s passion. That’s magic, whichever way you want to look at it.
Away from Wimbledon, Murray still embodied the best of Britain and carried it around the world.
At his best he was ferociously defiant and doggedly determined. He didn’t know when he was beaten. He defended his turf with such bulldog spirit that a Winston Churchill voice-over would not have felt even the remotest bit odd.
Whether or not this truly is the end for Murray as a player we don’t know. The pain could ease and the fire return between now and Wimbledon. His body could adapt and his game evolve. You wouldn’t put it past him, no matter how long the odds appear right now.
But whatever the future holds, Murray’s legacy will endure as one of the single greatest sports-people in a great sporting nation’s history.
More from Tennis365:
Emma Raducanu to be given ‘homecoming’ broadcast to toast her US Open win
The Lawn Tennis Association are set to give Emma Raducanu the welcome home she deserves.
Exclusive – Assessing Novak Djokovic’s legacy with one of the game’s leading writers
Novak Djokovic has always been fighting a losing battle in a popularity contest with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Emma Raducanu could secure a place in lucrative end-of-season WTA finals
Raducanu could be on course to secure a remarkable place in the lucrative end-of-season WTA finals in Mexico.
Andy Murray eyeing up leap in the rankings after another win in Metz
Murray is one win away from a return to the top 100 in the ATP rankings.
Emma Raducanu confirms first sponsorship deal and plenty more will follow
The sponsorship opportunities are rolling in for…
‘Winning is what sport is all about’ – Andy Murray reacts to one of his best wins of 2021
The former world number dispatched the home favourite favourite 4-6 6-3 6-2.
Andy Murray accepts wildcard as he prepares to return to scene of one of his great wins
Murray completed a comeback few believed was possible when he won the ATP event in Antwerp in 2019.
Coaching guru insists Emma Raducanu still has much to prove after US Open win
She is the new queen of tennis…
Roger Federer on his latest fitness battle and Novak Djokovic’s US Open final defeat
Roger Federer has not made…
Emma Raducanu makes a leap in the tennis rankings without striking a ball
Raducanu has enjoyed a welcome rankings boost, without even striking a ball in anger.