Andy Murray revealed he has a plan for how he would like to retire from tennis but reassured fans it will not be for a while yet.
The two-time Wimbledon champion turned 36 in May and is continuing to defy expectations of what can be achieved with a metal hip.
While Novak Djokovic is as dominant as ever, Murray has seen one of his other big rivals, Roger Federer, bow out, and Rafael Nadal announced his intention to call it a day after a final tilt next year.
Murray had a taste of retirement during his battle to recover from his hip problems, and he told the PA news agency: “That’s an experience I went through where I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play again.
“So I certainly don’t want to put myself in that position – I want to finish my career on the tennis court. It’s something I have an idea about when it is I would like to stop and a plan for that – certainly nothing immediate.”
Murray does not see himself playing a farewell tour like Nadal intends to do and admired the way Federer bowed out in emotional scenes at the Laver Cup last autumn.
“It was a great way for him to finish,” said the Scot. “I don’t think there’s a special or particular way or right way of doing it, just so long as the individual’s happy with that, and hopefully you get the chance to do that on the tennis court rather than it being through an injury or anything else.”
The former Wimbledon champion still has ambitions on the court, including what he hopes can be another strong run at the London tournament.
He looks set to fall just short of his aim of being seeded at the All England Club so will be keeping his fingers crossed for a kind draw.
With Emma Raducanu and Jack Draper injured, Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans are the only other direct British entrants into the main singles draws this year, although 10 players have been given wild cards.
Negative headlines around the absence of British women at the French Open have been mitigated to an extent by success on the grass, with Katie Boulter winning the WTA title in Nottingham to return to the top 100.
“Is it disappointing? It’s always a difficult one to know what British tennis should be expecting, or what should be considered success,” Murray said.
“Because, in the last 10 years, I’ve won some grand slams and Emma Raducanu obviously won a grand slam on the women’s side.
“That hadn’t been the case for, I don’t know, 70 years on the men’s side, and I think it was 40 years on the women’s side – so that’s a big improvement.
“People will want more – more players competing at the top of the game. I would obviously like to see more but hopefully that will change in the next few years.”