By Mark A. Upaa
The world of sports was shocked on Friday when Andy Murray announced his eminent retirement from professional tennis. Andy, who is one of the most liked and admired pro’s on tour had been battling injuries for the last couple of seasons. And in the end explained that he could no longer play at the level he expected of himself and that the pain he was constantly in had stolen the joy he felt on the court. Every sportsman knows, that the physical strain they put their bodies under results in a lot of wear and tear.
Andy, whom early on in his career was also constantly questioned about his ‘mental strenght’ has abseolutly answered that question and proven all his critics wrong. A man who for such a long time carried the weight of an entire nation on his sholders as he strived to break into the upper echelon of tennis masters on the world scene. At a point many questioned if he could go all the way and win a grand slam? Especially with the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal sitting so imperiously at the top of the food chain. Some likened him to another unfortunate Andy, (Roddick), who was never able to reach his full potential because his carrer was overshadowed by the mastery of tennis greats; Pete Sampras and Andre Aggasi.
Murray became the first British man to win an Olympic singles gold medal in tennis in more than a century when he beat Roger Federer in 2012. Murray also won silver at the London Games in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson. Murry’s break – through on the ATP tour came when he won his first major at the US Open in 2012.
2013 saw Murray become the first British man to win a singles title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. Davis Cup glory, is something Andy has also tasted when he capped 2015 by leading team GB to a Davis Cup win for the first time since 1936.
To,the pride and eternal admiration of Englishmen everywhere, Murray would go on to win another Wimbledon title, beating Milos Raonic in the 2016 final. Proving in spades that he was not a one-hit-wonder, Murray’s second Wimbledon was his third major win overall. Murray also won the season ending 2016 ATP Masters in front of an estatic crowd at the 02 Arena.
All good things must come to an end, is a well worn cliché, but for anyone who has risen to the pinacle of his trade or profession, there is always the desire to go out on your own terms. Which may be why the three-time major champion announced on Friday that the Australian Open could prove to be his last event in professional tennis. An emotional Murray, 31, told a packed media conference he would like to retire after Wimbledon in July, but that his troublesome hip injury may not let him retire in front of his home crowd at the ‘Old England club’. The announcement comes after Murray’s long battle with a hip problem, which first flared up in June 2017 before he was forced to have surgery in January 2018.
Tributes have since began to pour in for Andy Murray, from the tennis world and far beyond the world of sports. A winner of 45 titles on the ATP World Tour, Murray will bow out of tennis as one of the greats of his generation. And though actually a Scotsman, he is arguably the greatest Englishman to play the sport of tennis. And definately the greatest Englishman to play in the open era.
Rafael Nadal paid tribute to the retiring Andy Murray, saying the Brit would be a huge loss to the sport. Nadal said Murray, a five-time Australian Open runner-up, should be proud of his career.
“Overall, when he puts everything on the balance, it will be that the positive things of the balance are much heavier than the negative things, even if in the end it’s not probably the way that he dreamed about. But you can’t manage that,” said Nadal (someone who has had his own fair share of injury set-backs during an otherwise stellar career). We will all miss you Andy, but thank you for the memories. #onelastdance.