“I want to play forever – but I can’t” – Wimbledon gives Andy Murray hero’s send-off after doubles loss

Andy Murray was given a hero’s send-off after his doubles loss on Thursday at Wimbledon. Catch the highlights of the moving moments here

Andy Murray Wimbledon 2024 | Action Plus / Panoramic Andy Murray Wimbledon 2024 | Action Plus / Panoramic

There was laughter. And you better believe: there were tears.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was given a beautiful send-off on Thursday after he and his brother Jamie lost their first-round doubles match to Rinky Hijikata and John Peers (7-6(6), 6-4), with tennis luminaries taking to Centre Court to give praise while legendary Sue Barker returned to interview the 37-year-old three-time major champion in front of an adoring crowd.

It’s hard because I would love to keep playing, but I can’t. Physically it’s just too tough. All of the injuries, they’ve added up. They haven’t been insignificant. I want to play forever. I love the sport, it’s given me so much.

— Andy Murray

Murray, who was forced to pull out of singles after having back surgery less than two weeks ago, is slated to play mixed doubles with Emma Raducanu at Wimbledon.

He says he doesn’t plan to play singles next year at Wimbledon.

Before the interview began, a delightful video montage, featuring Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Venus Williams was played, setting the tone perfectly.

Then, with plenty of tennis stars of past and present, including Novak Djokovic, Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe, Iga Swiatek, Tim Henman, Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie, lining the court, the interview began.

“Are you ready?” asked Barker.

“No, not really,” Murray replied.

For about 15 minutes the pair conducted a heartfelt conversation, with Murray running through the high points of his career with his trademark sincerity and humour. Here are some of the high points of the interview:

On the 2012 Wimbledon final 

“It’s always really difficult to speak after a loss, particularly after a Grand Slam final and being at Wimbledon – that’s the closest I’d been. It was obviously difficult but it was quite an important moment in my career. I’m not saying I’m the most outgoing or bubbly personality, but I think people probably saw how much I cared about the sport, for the first time maybe.” 

On winning the Olympic Gold at Wimbledon in 2012

“It was the biggest week of my life, to turn that around after losing in the final at Wimbledon and to come here and play. It was one of my favorite days that I’ve ever had as an athlete, to play in a home Olympic Games, at Wimbledon, and to beat Roger for once in a big match.” 

On his Big 3 rivals, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic

“They were alright, weren’t they? They weren’t the easiest guys to get past. I was obviously incredibly fortunate to play in this time and I think all tennis fans have been lucky to witness what they’ve gone on to achieve. It’s been incredible to watch what they’ve done, it’s been incredible to be a part of some of the matches and major championships over the years and I was fortunate to manage to get through them a couple of times in big moments – what a time to be on the tour.” 

On winning his first Wimbledon title in 2013 and the stress he felt 

“I did find it pretty stressful, to be honest. It wasn’t easy, but I had an amazing team of people around me supporting me through all of that. The crowd support made a huge difference. Playing at home is an advantage in all sports and I used it that day – Novak had an off day, obviously – and I managed to get over the line. I didn’t really actually enjoy it as much as I should have, I just found the whole thing very, very stressful.”

On winning the 2016 Wimbledon title 

“2016 was different. I felt way less pressure and the enjoyment I got out of the win was totally different from 2013. I had an amazing evening that night with all my friends and family, went out and enjoyed it with the people closest to me. Of the Slams [I won]  it was my favourite one. 

“I don’t remember much of that night, I’d had a few drinks, and I did unfortunately vomit in the cab on the way home.” 

On being with the family after tennis

“They’ve been waking me and my wife up at 5 AM for the last eight years, so they’ll continue doing that. They were requesting piggy back rides the day after my back surgery ten days ago, but obviously they’ve been amazing. I really look forward to spending more time at home, around them.” 

On the support he got from his team 

“I’ve had incredible support and I think all the players that are here on the court know that you can’t do this on your own. You need a team of people supporting you, the coaches, strength and conditioning team, physios, and in recent years surgeons, unfortunately, as well. But I’ve had some amazing people working with me over the last few years, thanks to them for supporting me through this. The last few years have been hard for me but also for them.”

On his first date with his wife, Kim Sears

“We met when we were 18 years old. Kim’s dad is a tennis coach. We met for the first time in New York, went out for dinner there at the US Open, and I choked a little bit the first time we went out. We walked her home to her hotel and I asked her for her email address. I don’t know if that’s a normal thing to do. 

“She came along to watch me at the US Open, the first time she watched me play live was at the Open. I vomited twice in that match. Once right in front of her, where she was sitting. I then stood up and vomited on my opponent’s racquet bag, and she still seemed to like me so I knew she was a keeper after that.” 

“She’s been amazing support to me and to my whole family, and she’s the best mom. Unfortunately in a couple months she’s going to have to see me every day. Things might be rocky for a while, so hopefully we can stick it out. I’m looking forward to the rest of our lives.” 

On finally deciding to retire 

“It’s hard because I would love to keep playing, but I can’t. Physically it’s just too tough. All of the injuries, they’ve added up. They haven’t been insignificant. I want to play forever. I love the sport, it’s given me so much. Taught me loads of lessons over the years that I can use for the rest of my life but I don’t want to stop, so it’s hard.” 

People in this post

Your comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *