Roy Keane’s less than glowing tribute to Andy Murray after emotional Wimbledon farewell

Kevin Palmer
Roy Keane on Andy Murray's retirement
Roy Keane on Andy Murray's retirement

Manchester United legend Roy Keane is famous for his straight-talking analysis and he has come up with an alternative view of Andy Murray’s retirement from tennis. 

Murray’s emotional farewell to Wimbledon last Thursday grew emotions from all who have followed his remarkable career, with the two-time Wimbledon champion bowing out in front of his friends and family on Centre Court.

Yet Keane is famously reluctant to hand out praise and he followed his familiar script on the latest Stick To Football podcast with Sky Bet alongside Ian Wright, Gary Neville and Jill Scott.

“Andy Murray retiring from tennis isn’t sad news at all,” insisted Keane. “He’s 37 years old, had a brilliant career but had plenty of injuries, so he should count his blessings that he’s had such a successful career.

“He must have been crying… although it’s okay to cry. That’s not sad news (Murray returning). It’s good news. He’s got a lovely family. Good luck to him.

“He had a brilliant career. They talk about him playing in a great era… we were up against the great Barcelona. Oh my God. He could have been with Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe!”

Keane’s fellow panellist and Arsenal goal-scoring great Ian Wright had a little more enthusiasm as he paid tribute to Murray.

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“Andy Murray is one of our sporting greats for what he had to go through,” said Wright.

“For him to make it in tennis, in our country, and in the same era as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, you’ve got to give him major credit. He had a brilliant career and he’s one of our all-time greats.

“I don’t need to be a tennis fan to understand and appreciate how good someone is. With the injuries he’s had, it’s great to see how successful he’s been, especially to make it through in such a strong era of tennis.”

While Keane and Wright offered alternative verdicts on Murray’s retirement, there was never an doubt that the Scot would be given a heroes send-off at Wimbledon after his final match at The Championships last week.

Murray described his Olympic gold medal in 2012 as “one of my favourite days I’ve ever had,” and said sarcastically of his rivalry with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer: “They were all right weren’t they?”

Of his era-defining 2013 success, he said: “I did find it pretty stressful, it wasn’t easy.” He made sure he celebrated fully in 2016, admitting that he vomited in a taxi on the way home.

There were oohs from the crowd when Murray said he would like to come back in “a coaching box” rather than sitting in the Royal Box, while he choked up again talking about his family and his team.

His two oldest daughters, eight-year-old Sophia and six-year-old Edie, made their first appearance in the courtside box, and Murray said of his four children: “They’ve been waking me and my wife up at 5am for the last eight years so they’ll continue doing that.

“They were requesting piggybacks the day after my back surgery. Obviously they’ve been amazing, I really look forward to spending more time at home.

“I’ve had some amazing people working with me over the years. The last few years have been hard for me but I think hard for them.

“It has obviously been hard for all of us. The injuries have been tough, quite significant injuries and we’ve worked extremely hard just to be on the court competing. Probably not at the level any of us wanted, but we tried.

“Look it is hard because I would love to keep playing but I can’t. Physically it is too tough now, all of the injuries, they have added up and they haven’t been insignificant.

“I want to play forever, I love the sport and it’s given me so much. It’s taught me loads of lessons over the years I can use for the rest of my life. I don’t want to stop so it is hard.”

Murray is expected to play his final matches at the Paris Olympic Games which gets underway at the end of this month.