Andy Murray calls time on Wimbledon singles career

Andy Murray’s Wimbledon singles career has come to an end after a back injury forced him to withdraw from the men’s draw at his final championships on the morning of his scheduled first round match on Tuesday.

The two-time Wimbledon singles champion was due to play Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic on Centre Court, but was unable to sufficiently recover from the back surgery he underwent 10 days ago. But Murray has confirmed he intends to compete alongside his brother, Jamie, in the men’s doubles this week.

Murray’s representatives said: “Unfortunately, despite working incredibly hard on his recovery since his operation just over a week ago, Andy has taken the very difficult decision not to play the singles this year. As you can imagine, he is extremely disappointed but has confirmed that he will be playing in the doubles with Jamie and looks forward to competing at Wimbledon for the last time.”

Murray’s preparations suffered a painful blow two weeks ago when the 37-year-old was forced to withdraw from Queen’s due to pain and numbness in his back and right leg. He underwent back surgery to remove a spinal cyst, which had been compressing nerves in his back.

Even though some doctors had suggested that it would take as long as six to 12 weeks for Murray to recover from his surgery, he was fit enough to train on-site over the past few days and he was winning convincingly against Kyle Edmund when their practice match was stopped at the end of their court time.

But the challenge of facing a top player in Machac, who is ranked No 39, in the best of five sets format was ultimately too much. When he retired at Queen’s after five painful games Murray said he wished he had never taken to the court as it was an incredibly awkward spectacle for the audience and fans. If he had played at Wimbledon and was unable to be competitive, his final memory on Centre Court would have been similarly painful.

“When it comes to the end, I don’t know, maybe a bit of closure,” Murray said on his hopes for Wimbledon. “I just want the opportunity to play one more time out there hopefully on Centre Court and feel that buzz. Last year, I wasn’t planning on it being my last on the tour. I wanted to come back and play again, whereas this year I have no plans to do that.”

Murray also carried the risk of reopening the wound from the keyhole surgery, although he had suggested that he was OK with assuming those risks. “From discussions that I’ve had with my surgeon and the medical experts that are around me, the biggest risk is from the wound perspective, of a reopening of the wound,” he said.

“My spine is strong and stable. The inflammation is coming down every single day. There’s been minimal disruption to the muscles and everything. The issue would be if the wound, which is extremely small, was to reopen, I would then have to go and have that sorted. But I’m OK with that, with that risk.”

Murray said his attempts to recover in time were motivated by the simple hope of competing at Wimbledon one last time. Murray won two of his three grand slam titles at Wimbledon, becoming the first British man in 77 years to win the title in 2013 before he did so again three years later. He also won an Olympic singles gold medal at Wimbledon at London 2012.

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