Novak Djokovic makes bold Andy Murray prediction after Wimbledon heartache

Kevin Palmer
Andy Murray training with Novak Djokovic
Andy Murray training with Novak Djokovic

Andy Murray has confirmed he has played his final singles game at Wimbledon, but his long-time rival Novak Djokovic is not convinced.

Murray was extremely disappointed not to be able to play singles at Wimbledon one final time but proud of his efforts to recover from back surgery.

The 37-year-old made the decision on Tuesday morning to pull out of his scheduled first-round clash with Tomas Machac later in the day, 10 days after having a spinal cyst removed.

Murray will, though, get an on-court swansong having confirmed he will play doubles with his brother Jamie.

The pair practised together on Tuesday afternoon, with Murray saying of his singles call: “I decided this morning.

“I slept on it, I told my team and my family that I didn’t think I was going to play just based on how I felt yesterday. I practised pretty well and I was playing pretty good, I just wasn’t happy with how my leg was feeling and I wanted to sleep on it and make sure I was happy with the decision.

“I ran around at home a bit this morning when I got up and it just wasn’t where I wanted it to be, unfortunately. It’s probably a few days too soon. But I worked extremely hard to at least give myself a chance to play.

“It was the right decision. It is extremely disappointing that I wasn’t able to play but, at the same time, where I’m at, 10 days after the operation in comparison to where I was told I would be and what my expectations were is incredible really.

“I obviously practised with my brother today and I look forward to playing the doubles.”

The statement confirming Murray was pulling out of the singles also confirmed this will be his last Wimbledon, but 24-time Grand Slam legend Djokovic is not convinced.

After he came through his opening match at Wimbledon and showed no ill-effects from the knee surgery he underwent on June 5, Djokovic predicted the final chapter of Murray’s story may still be written at next year’s Championships.

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“Obviously, very sad news for the tournament and for the tennis world to hear that he withdrew from the singles event here in Wimbledon. “I hear that he’s going to try to play doubles,” said Djokovic.

“Hopefully he can get another shot at next year’s Wimbledon with singles.

“Knowing him, he’s going to try to do that. Just incredible resilience throughout all his career.

“Multiple Grand Slam winner, legend of the game, No. 1 in the world. Going to play the ATP Challenger circuit to build his rankings on clay, his least favourite surface, says a lot about his character.

“Just huge inspiration to all the players. Doesn’t mind getting out on the court for hours every day. Incredible professional. Just his approach is something to study, no doubt.”

The tributes will flow for Murray ahead of his appearance alongside brother Jamie in the doubles later this week, but they will be little consolation for a player who has built his final year in the game around a farewell appearance at Wimbledon.

That has now been taken away from him and while he insists there will be no encore, Djokovic has started the bandwagon for Murray to return to Wimbledon for one last time in 2025.