Andy Murray pondering his own retirement question after week of reflection

Andy Murray

Amid Andy Murray’s reflections after his week back in the big-time, the former champion might be pondering his own future in tennis.

Witnessing the beautiful and emotional scenes that signalled Roger Federer’s retirement from tennis left a mark on anyone who loves our game, with Murray’s tears on Friday night at the 02 Arena in London evidence that he was as touched as we all were by scenes that will never be forgotten.

Yet amid the joyous and tearful spectacle that signalled the end of one of the most significant careers in tennis history, Murray had to be concerned by his own contribution to Team Europe’s surprising defeat against John McEnroe’s Team World.

A singles defeat against Alex De Minaur was backed up by a loss alongside Matteo Berrettini in the doubles on Sunday, with Murray’s failure to register a point a significant factor in his side’s shock defeat.

From Tennis365’s seat high in the stands at the 02 Arena, it was evident that the fearsome ground shots Murray once had in his wide range of weapons are currently missing from his repertoire.

Long rallies with De Minaur suggested the Scot was hoping for a mistake from his opponent rather than taking the initiative and going for the kill.

Then, when he tried to pull the trigger on his once reliable shots, they tended to go long or into the net, with Murray seemingly struggling to hit through his rival.

At a venue where the two-time Wimbledon champion confirmed his status as the year-end No 1 in 2016, the explosive backhand that was a Murray trademark was missing.

And while there were still flashes of brilliance from the 35-year-old, it seemed as if the magic sparkle that gave him a chance to compete with Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic is no longer a part of his make-up.

This fearsome competitor may still try to convince himself that he can get that knock-out punch back in his game, but there is a time limit on how long he will want to search for that winning formula and the last few days will have focused his mind.

Murray suggested that his time back with Federer, Nadal and Djokovic had given him a chance to reflect on what he describes as his ‘small part’ in the greatest era in tennis history, with these words confirming he has been close to retirement himself during his recent battles with injuries.

“I found myself thinking a lot about these last sort of 10, 15 years more than I probably have done before,” he said in a press conference at the 02 Arena.

“When I was going through some of the injury problems, I didn’t know if I was going to play, I was thinking about it from my own perspective.

“But maybe looking at it more in a broader perspective, like thinking about what Roger’s done for the game and what Rafa and Novak, as well, and what this period has been like, it has been special. Yeah, we’re lucky to be here and be present for Friday night for Roger’s last match.”

When asked whether the scenes that greeted Federer’s exit turned his head towards thinking about his own retirement, Murray was quick to sidestep a question that may now be further forward in his mind after two disappointing displays at the Laver Cup.

“Look, I’m really not thinking about that right now,” he stated.

“I certainly won’t and don’t deserve to have a sendoff like that. You know, Roger did deserve that night, and it was super special having all of those guys there, you know, watching on the side of the court, and having them there made it really special.

“I’m not going to have a farewell match. I probably would announce when I’m going to play my last event and stuff, but when that is, I don’t know.

“I’m still playing competitive tennis and physically feeling good against top players. I just need to start really turning some of these tight losses and close matches into wins. It’s as simple as that.”

We now wait to see which member of the ‘Big Four’ will join Federer in retirement and if current form is any guide, Murray might well be next.