July 24, 2024
Andy Murray

Andy Murray remains hopeful the back injury which ended his Queen’s campaign will not deny him what is expected to be a final appearance at Wimbledon.

Britain’s Murray had to retire against Australia’s Jordan Thompson on Wednesday, a sad finish to what is likely to be his last appearance at a tournament which he has won a record five times.

The 37-year-old former world number one is set to bring his illustrious career to a close later this year.

With Wimbledon starting on 1 July – and a planned doubles appearance there with his older brother Jamie – Murray’s army of adoring British fans will be hoping his back issue will not affect his chances of saying an emotional goodbye.

“Let’s hope it will be OK with some rest and treatment, and I’ll still be able to play [at Wimbledon],” said Murray, who won the SW19 title in 2013 and 2016.

Earlier this week Murray said he felt ending his career at Wimbledon or the Olympics – the events in which he has enjoyed his most gratifying successes – would be a fitting stage to retire from the sport.

A scan on Thursday will likely provide more answers about whether the back issue will jeopardise those plans.

“I don’t know exactly what the problem is. I hadn’t experienced that before,” said Murray.

“I have no idea how long it will take to get better and what the treatment options are.”

How an ‘awkward’ afternoon unfolded

Andy Murray
Queen’s 2024: Andy Murray pulls out of match due to injury

Murray was playing again at Queen’s less than 24 hours after winning his first-round match against Australia’s Alexei Popyrin.

From the start, the three-time Grand Slam champion looked uncomfortable during the points and was heavily limping between them.

Murray said the issue was not a back spasm, but caused a “loss of strength, coordination and control” issues in his right leg.

“When I walked up the stairs before going out, and in the pre-match warm-up, my back was uncomfortable,” said Murray.

“It was an awkward atmosphere because everyone could see there was a problem and I didn’t know if I should play or stop. It’s disappointing.

“In hindsight I wish I hadn’t gone on the court.”

After being broken in the first game, Murray held serve in the third and had treatment as he lay on the court during a medical time-out in the next changeover.

A huge cheer of encouragement greeted Murray as he picked up his racquet again but he lasted just two more games before stopping at 4-1 down.

Murray waved to all sides of the court after shaking hands with Thompson, thanking the home crowd for their support on a tough afternoon – and seemingly for their backing ever since he made his debut at the west London club in 2005.

“That’s never the way you want to win,” said Thompson.

“He’s a great champion and it’s disappointing to see him hurt.”
‘No perfect ending’ but this feels cruel

Andy Murray
Andy Murray was playing in the 1,001st match of his career

There is no perfect way to end a tennis career.

Murray said it himself after losing to Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in the first round of the French Open last month.

Finishing with a defeat is more than likely, particularly for a player in their late 30s who has been beset by injuries and ranked outside the top 100.

But another fitness issue for Murray feels especially cruel given the way he wants to bow out.

Rupturing ankle ligaments at the Miami Open in March, just as Murray began to show signs of resurgent form, was already a considerable blow.

Even though he was able to return seven weeks later, he has been hampered by a back problem exacerbated by playing on clay.

“The treatment I had on my back after the French Open was predominantly left-sided. This was my right leg,” said Murray.

“I have dealt with back issues for a long time, for the last 10 years or so, and it’s probably quite common for a lot of players.

“But I have never experienced that before.”

Thompson advanced to the quarter-finals, where he will play Taylor Fritz after the American fourth seed beat Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

Australia’s Rinky Hijikata won 7-6 (7-0) 7-6 (9-7) against Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi to reach the last eight, while American Sebastian Korda earned a 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over Bulgaria’s 2014 champion and third seed Grigor Dimitrov.

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