Tennis-Murray drops retirement hint after 500th hard-court win in Dubai

  • Tennis
  • Tuesday, 27 Feb 2024

Tennis - ATP 500 - Dubai Tennis Championships - Dubai Duty Free Tennis Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates - February 26, 2024 Britain's Andy Murray celebrates winning his round of 32 match against Canada's Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Rula Rouhana

(Reuters) - Andy Murray hinted that this could be his last season after he recorded his 500th hardcourt win with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Canada's Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday.

Murray joined Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi and Rafa Nadal as the only players to reach the 500th tour-level win milestone on the surface in the professional era.

"Obviously hardcourt has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I'm very proud of that," Murray said.

"There aren't many players that have done that, so, great to get to 500 before I'm done."

It was just the second win this year for the 36-year-old who suffered a first round exit at the recent Australian Open, and Murray has failed to go beyond the third round of a Grand Slam since reaching the Wimbledon quarters in 2017.

Murray, former world number one and winner of three Grand Slam singles titles, lost his second round match in Qatar last week to 18-year-old Jakub Mensik, and during the defeat he appeared to shout "this game is not for me anymore".

He played down those comments after Monday's win in Dubai, but admitted that the end of his career could be near.

"People read a lot into what I say on the court sometimes and it's not always rational," he said.

"I still love competing, I still love the game. It gets harder and harder the older you get to compete with the young guys.

"It's not easy, I probably don't have too long left but I'll do the best that I can these last few months."

Last month after another first round exit in Montpellier, Murray responded to a BBC article in which a journalist questioned whether his bravely soldering on will damage his legacy.

""Tarnishing my legacy? Do me a favour," Murray responded on social media platform X.

"Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now. But I'm not most people and my mind works differently," he added.

"I won't quit. I will keep fighting and working to produce the performances I know I'm capable of."

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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