Andy Murray is gearing up for his 20th season on the ATP Tour, but the pre-season leading to it has been far from smooth. Dealing with a shoulder injury, illness, and a bruised knee, the 36-year-old acknowledges the challenges and admits that if he were in a situation like the end of the previous year, he might not continue. Having won just two matches in his final five events of the previous season, Murray’s enjoyment of the game has been tested.
The British tennis star will face second seed Grigor Dimitrov on New Year’s Day at the start of the Brisbane International. Reflecting on his career and the uncertainties ahead, Murray stated, “We’ll see how the year goes, see how the body holds up. If things are going well, I’d love to keep going. But if they’re not, and I’m not enjoying it, it could be the last year, yes.”
Murray’s pre-season struggles included a shoulder injury before the Davis Cup in November, preventing him from serving for a few weeks. Additionally, he faced illness and a bruised meniscus in his knee, restricting certain activities. Despite these setbacks, the Scot has managed to practice and engage in warm-up sets with top players in Brisbane.
Expressing his frustration from the previous season, especially his performance in Paris, where he smashed his racket after failing to convert match points against Alex de Minaur, Murray highlighted the mental challenges of facing losses. He emphasized the need to put things in perspective and be kinder to himself mentally.
He said: “When you have played right at the highest level, it’s not that easy when you are going through periods where you are losing in first rounds, and maybe losing matches that you probably should have won.
“Part of that is psychological, but part of it is also where my game was at as well.
“I served particularly poorly in the latter part of the season and getting cheap points on my serve has been over my career a big part of my game. I’m hoping some of the improvements I made in the off-season will help me in those situations, and obviously, mentally, I need to do a better job as well.”
As the new season begins, great attention will be on Murray to see how he navigates the challenges on the court, and especially with his physical and mental state. A legend in his own right, Murray has earned the right to leave the game whenever he decides to and receive an ovation for it.