Andy Murray disappointed after ‘incredible’ effort to be fit comes up short

The Scot pulled out of a scheduled singles clash with Tomas Machac but will play doubles with his brother Jamie.

Andy Murray disappointed after ‘incredible’ effort to be fit comes up short PA Media

Andy Murray was extremely disappointed not to be able to play singles at Wimbledon one final time but proud of his efforts to recover from back surgery.

The 37-year-old made the decision on Tuesday morning to pull out of his scheduled first-round clash with Tomas Machac later in the day, 10 days after having a spinal cyst removed.

Murray will, though, get an on-court swansong having confirmed he will play doubles with his brother Jamie.

The pair practised together on Tuesday afternoon, with Murray saying of his singles call: “I decided this morning.

“I slept on it, I told my team and my family that I didn’t think I was going to play just based on how I felt yesterday. I practised pretty well and I was playing pretty good, I just wasn’t happy with how my leg was feeling and I wanted to sleep on it and make sure I was happy with the decision.

“I ran around at home a bit this morning when I got up and it just wasn’t where I wanted it to be unfortunately. It’s probably a few days too soon. But I worked extremely hard to at least give myself a chance to play.

“It was the right decision. It is extremely disappointing that I wasn’t able to play but, at the same time, where I’m at, 10 days after the operation in comparison to where I was told I would be and what my expectations were is incredible really.

“I obviously practised with my brother today and I look forward to playing the doubles.”

Murray retired from his second-round match at Queen’s Club last month after experiencing weakness and a lack of coordination in his right leg.

He refused to rule out a final Wimbledon appearance even after going under the knife and practised at the All England Club the last few days but it was clear his movement was nowhere near 100 per cent.

“I’m disappointed, I wanted to play in the tournament,” he said. “I wanted to have a chance to go out there and walk out on my own on the Centre Court again and give it another go.

“But I also was only going to do that if I felt like I could be competitive, and I didn’t feel like that today. I’m sorry for everyone that came and wanted to support and watch again.

“I wanted that moment as well, as much for me as the people who have supported me over the years.

“The fans but also my closest friends, family, my team. It was important for me to do that with them as well. It’s one of those things. The timing was horrible, the surgery was a complex one and it wasn’t to be.”

The Murray brothers are likely to play their first-round doubles match against Australians Rinky Hijikata and John Peers on Thursday.

“Getting the opportunity to play with Jamie here will be special,” said Murray. “We’ve never done that before and I’ll make sure I make the most of it.

“It’s easier said than done to just enjoy it when you’re out there because you’re competing and concentrating trying to win the match but hopefully we can have a good run.

“We’ve got a good chance of winning. Me and Jamie play great doubles together. We can definitely win the match.”

Discussions will now ramp up about how to celebrate one of Britain’s finest athletes at the tournament that will define his career.

Chief executive Sally Bolton said on Monday: “We have got a variety of plans sitting waiting to deliver. It really is for Andy to make that call and we’ll be ready whenever that happens.”

Murray made his debut at Wimbledon back in 2005, reaching the third round as an 18-year-old, and has played 74 singles matches, winning 61 of them.

His first title came in 2013 with a hugely emotional victory over Novak Djokovic, while he lifted the trophy again in 2016.

In 2012, he sobbed on Centre Court after losing to Roger Federer in the final but beat the Swiss on the same stage a few weeks later to claim Olympic gold with one of the finest performances of his career.

What has turned out to be his final singles match at the All England Club was an agonising two-day, five-set loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round last year.

Murray is planning for the final singles matches of his career to come at the Paris Olympics this summer in what will be his last tournament, but that depends on how his body continues to recover.

“I’ll see how I feel,” he said. “I still don’t know exactly how this is going to recover. It’s felt much better most days but I still don’t have the total feeling and normality back in my leg yet.

“I hope that continues every day to get better but there’s no guarantees with that. These sorts of injuries, people don’t always get the full function back. My hope is that is does and then I’ll have to make a call based on how the next few weeks go.”

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