STARNBERG, January 24, 2019
On January 11, 2019, the tennis world was rocked by the news Andy Murray would retire from the sport after the Wimbledon Grand Slam event in July. He even suggested that the upcoming Australian Open could be his final event.
Having been plagued by hip pain for the last 20 months – which surgery has failed to eliminate – the 31-year-old Scot has decided he cannot carry on in his current physical state.
It is never nice when the career of a sporting great is brought to a premature end through injury. And many will be hoping the three-time Grand Slam winner and former World No. 1 can bow out with a fairy tale ending to his career by lifting a third Wimbledon crown. But is that a realistic prospect?
What the bookies say
Since his announcement, the odds of Murray winning the tournament in SW19 have actually drifted with bookmakers, perhaps influenced by his admission the Aussie Open could be his last event. With prices as high as 16/1 available, some bettors might be tempted to take an early punt on the Briton.
Depending on how well Murray fares in Melbourne, those prices could fluctuate again, so less bold punters might decide to wait it out, while some could take advantage of the bookies’ free bets & bonuses for 2019 and make a speculative wager.
But any bet on Murray would be made with the heart rather than the head. A realistic analysis would conclude the Glasgow-born athlete has little chance of winning another event in his final months, let alone a Grand Slam.
One last push
One could make the argument that, if Murray does make it to Wimbledon, he will be in a position to throw everything he has at one title charge. If he plays consistently between now and then, his fitness levels will increase. And, if he can manage his pain levels during that time, his confidence could also rise.
With the other ‘big three’ not at the level they were a few years ago, Murray might just find a way to reach the latter stages. From there, he would need the support of the home crowd and maybe some divine intervention to carry him across the line.
Is this really the end? Murray missed last year’s Wimbledon tournament as he continued his recovery from the hip injury that also had hampered his progress in 2017. He has the option of undergoing further surgery which could resolve the issue but he has stated that he would only choose this route to improve his future quality of life rather than to extend his career.
The whole tennis world will be willing Murray to reach his Wimbledon target but he will live the next few months knowing each subsequent tournament could be his last. Whatever happens, he will be remembered as one of the greats of the modern era.