Tennis icon becomes latest big voice to weigh in on Andy Murray retirement debate

Ewan West
Andy Murray waves Australian Open
Andy Murray waves as he leaves the court at the 2024 Australian Open

Tennis legend Billie Jean King has become the latest big name to give her verdict on the future of Andy Murray amid debate over whether the Brit should retire.

The legendary American proclaimed that Murray should end his “incredible” career when “he decides it’s time” and highlighted the 36-year-old’s love for tennis.

Murray suffered a 5-7, 4-6 defeat to talented 23-year-old Czech Tomas Machac in the opening round of the ATP 250 tournament in Marseille last week to take his record in 2024 to 0-4.

The world No 50 has lost his last six competitive matches and nine of his last 10 going back to September during a brutal run of form.

The previous week, the former world No 1 suffered a disappointing three-set loss to Benoit Paire in the first round of the ATP 250 tournament in Montpellier.

The defeat sparked some to suggest Murray should call time on his career given his struggles, with an article on the BBC Sport website arguing he may be “tarnishing” his legacy by continuing.

In a post on X, the two-time Olympic champion fired back at the claim and declared his intention to keep playing: “Tarnishing my legacy? Do me a favour. I’m in a terrible moment right now I’ll give you that.

“Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now. But I’m not most people and my mind works differently. I won’t quit. I will keep fighting and working to produce the performances I know I’m capable of.”

Three former world No 1’s — Martina Navratilova, Andy Roddick and Rennae Stubbs — were among those who swiftly defended the two-time Wimbledon winner.

READ MORE: Andy Murray suggests he will make major change in bid to end nightmare losing streak

King, who won 39 Grand Slam titles across singles, doubles and mixed doubles, became the latest prominent tennis figure to back Murray to carry on competing for as long as he wants.

“When should @andy_murray decide to end his incredible career? When he decides it’s time,” the 80-year-old wrote on her X account.

“Andy Murray loves tennis, and should do what he wants, when he wants to do it.”

In the latest episode of his Served podcast, 2003 US Open champion Roddick argued why he feels Murray is adding to his legacy by battling on.

“He’s earned the points to qualify, he’s not taking these wildcards. He’s getting in on merit, he’s a top 50 player right now, on one leg. So I feel like it’s adding to the mystique of Andy Murray,” the American explained.

“I’m sitting here going, ‘did I ever love the game as much as he loves it going out there on one leg?’ Delivering a product that would be sub par to what he knows is his best. He’s seen the best in the world, he is eyes wide open.

“He’s one of the most intelligent people that we have in our game, and you’re telling him that he can’t participate in a job that he’s earned — not by virtue of someone giving him the job — by the fact that he’s one of the best 50 players in the world and he can enter any tournament he wants where the cut-off is above 50 in the world.”

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal’s ‘level was impressive’, says Tim Henman as he dreams of one last Nadal-Andy Murray dance