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Andy Murray Is “Not Enjoying” Tennis Anymore, Time to Retire?

Jeff Shen

Andy Murray after getting ousted in the 2023 Paris Masters.


On September 10, 2012, tennis fans from around the globe gathered at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York, for the highly anticipated US Open men's final. The stage was set for two of the sport's brightest stars: Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Andy Murray, representing Great Britain. As the reigning US Open champion in his stellar 2011 season and holding the second spot in the world rankings at that time, Djokovic stood as the undeniable favorite. Additionally, prior to this tournament, Murray had reached four Grand Slam finals, falling short of being considered one of the "big three" in tennis: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer. Fans believed that this time would be no different. Yet after one of the longest US Open finals in history of 4 hours and 54 minutes, it was Murray who was handed the ceremonial first-place cup. Murray became the first British player in 76 years to win a Grand Slam title since the legendary Fred Perry in 1936.


Murray’s unexpected 2012 victory thrust the 25-year-old into the spotlight, and what followed entailed the beginning of a new chapter in tennis history: The “big three” was now the “big four” and Murray's name was firmly etched alongside the likes of Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer. 


Though Murray's career and popularity saw a meteoric rise in the 2010s  as he reached the number one ranking in 2016 and claimed two more grand slams, what followed was a challenging period marked by incessant injuries. In 2013, he suffered both a wrist injury and a back strain, the latter of which resulted in surgery in late 2013. In 2017, Murray’s career was once again halted – this time by a much more serious serious hip flexor injury. 


He would never fully recover from this back injury, as his second surgery in early 2018 ( involving a replacement titanium hip) led his ranking to drop below the top 100 as he missed most of the 2018 season. This was the lowest the Brit had been ranked in 12 twelve years. Though the 32-year-old returned to the top 100 for the first time again in February 2020, he would be caught yo-yoing between the top 50 and top 75 for the next year-and-a-half. Following a tough first-round loss to Alex de Minuar of Australia in the October Paris Masters, Murray admitted in the post-match interview that he is “not enjoying” his tennis anymore and is “going to need a lot of work” to continue playing. 


Ultimately, do I think that Murray’s career is over? The simple answer is no; Murray has proved time and time again that he is not one to stand down to adversity. Especially considering that two of the “Big 3” are now out of the picture, Murray should have a much easier time making it deep into the draws of major events as soon as his body re-adjusts to the rigorous demands of playing on the tour. Perhaps reaching a nadir late into one's career will benefit Murray, just as it did for Andre Agassi in the 1996 to 1997 seasons or Michael Chang’s brief struggle in 1999 due to a chronic wrist injury. All in all, regardless of Murray’s future in the sport, he will remain a legendary figure in the eyes of tennis fans all over the world, and his achievements solidify him as one of the strongest players in the Open Era.

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