Rafa Nadal and Andy Roddick have led the tributes to the retiring Sir Andy Murray, describing him as one of the game’s greats.
Murray had planned to retire after this summer’s Wimbledon as he battles back from an on-going hip surgery.
However, in a teary press conference in Melbourne, the Scot told reporters he may quit after the Australian Open because he is in pain daily.
The Rafa Nadal Academy tweeted an image of world No.2 Nadal and Murray together in happier times with the words: “Andy Murray announced he will retire this year.
“You don’t know how much we are going to miss you, @andy_murray! You are an example of a great athlete and person.”
American Roddick, winner of the 2003 US Open, was one of the first tennis stars to pay tribute to the British sporting legend when news broke on social media.
Roddick wants Murray to consider playing doubles at Wimbledon if he cannot fulfil his singles requirements so at the very least he receives a fabulous send-off from the SW19 faithful.
Roddick said: “If this is true, I tip my cap to @andy_murray! “Absolute legend. Short list of best tacticians in history. Unreal results in a brutal era. Nothing but respect here. I hope he can finish strong and healthy.
“Just thinking out loud here. He deserves his moment to say goodbye at Wimbledon. “He’s too important to Great Britain and Wimbledon history to not have it. Would be a pretty cool moment to play doubles with his bro at Wimby if he can’t play singles.”
Juan Martin del Potro, who is missing the Australian Open with injury, told Murray to keep fighting. The Argentine said: “I can imagine your pain and sadness. I hope you can overcome this. You deserve to retire on your own terms, whenever that happens.”
Australian Open tennis
The 31-year-old will play Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday in the first round here in Melbourne and there are fears he might not be competitive against the dangerous Spaniard.
Murray’s place as Britain’s greatest ever tennis player has been along assured.
He famously won Wimbledon in 2013, becoming the first man in 77 years to lift the singles titles, and then repeated the feat in 2016.
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