He may not like it, but the talk about Andy Murray and retirement isn’t going to go away
‘Murray’s plight continues’. The words on commentary as the former world number 1 slumped to a sixth straight defeat against Tomas Machac at the Marseille Open.
Regardless of whether Andy Murray likes it or not, it is becoming increasingly difficult for fans not to question whether or not it’s time he calls time on a brilliant career.
On the back of a first round exit at the Australian Open (a tournament where Murray used to frequently reach the second week) and a defeat to a player who hasn’t won since 2022 in Benoit Paire, Kheredine Idessane wrote an article for BBC Sport questioning whether Murray really needs to keep going.
The article wasn’t a scathing one, with Idessane acknowledging not only Murray’s achievements in tennis but also the fact the decision on when to retire is Murray’s to make alone. He did however, question whether Murray’s stubbornness to keep going despite being a carcass of his former self is tarnishing his legacy.
Murray took umbrage to this on X in a defiant response, telling the reporter to “Do me a favour.” The tweet
was wrapped up with the Scot saying he would keep “working to produce the performances I know I’m capable of.”
Who wants to tell him? Since a sensational year in 2016 in which he finished world number one after winning his second Wimbledon Championship, second Olympic gold medal and first ATP Finals win, Murray has been on the slide. Currently his form is at an all time low -he’s without a win since October.
Injuries have hampered him and while Murray’s spirit and love for the game should be commended, the fact of the matter is he’ll never get back to his best.
Murray is fully within his rights to continue playing the sport he loves, but he also has to accept that in the eyes of many, six defeats on the bounce to players who wouldn’t have got near him in his prime is tarnishing his legacy.
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… https://t.co/nF0var6IfL
— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) January 30, 2024
It’s hard to imagine the ‘big three’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic being on such a downward trajectory and still carrying on. In fairness to Murray though, it isn’t wholly a criticism of his ability on the court, as his hip injury is certainly a massive contributing factor to his fall from grace.
Murray’s perseverance to come back to the court deserves credit, but he may just need to think about what he wants. It emerged recently that since playing post his operation Murray has earned £2.5 million. While this certainly adds a silver lining to disappointing displays, money never seems like it has been a big motivating factor to Murray.
Always down to earth, Murray, while a professional tennis player, has always shown that he has a real passion for the game. His will to play won’t stem from money, it will stem from wanting to achieve things in the game, but the reality is he doesn’t look like he will be able to achieve anything else of note.
In sport sometimes you have to know when your time is up. Carrying on when you’re past your best does sometimes make fans raise eyebrows and Andy Murray needs to understand that.
Regardless of this, the 3-time Grand Slam champion will always be considered as a legend of British tennis and the best male player to come from the United Kingdom since Fred Perry.