A defiant Andy Murray has hit back at a BBC Sport article suggesting it was time for him to quit tennis.
But the battling Brit and three-time grand slam champion did admit he is in a “terrible moment”, as The Sun reports.
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Murray, 36, playing with a metal hip since major resurfacing surgery in 2019, has lost his last five matches dating back to October, with just one win in 10.
That includes his disappointing first-round exit to Tomas Martin Etcheverry at the Australian Open.
He then suffered another painful defeat on Monday when he crashed out in Montpellier against Benoit Paire, who had not won an ATP Tour match for 18 months.
That prompted an article on the BBC Sport website which implied Murray would be better off retiring and spending time with his wife Kim and their four kids, rather than continuing to travel the world given his recent poor results.
It was titled Andy Murray: Is the end nigh for three-time grand slam winner after latest loss? and while it did state the Scot “has earned the right to call time on his career whenever he likes”, it also packed plenty of punches in Murray’s direction.
“When does the pride of a champion and the refusal to back down from a challenge do more harm than good?” the article asked.
“When does it become clear that the massive investment of time, energy and effort is not paying any kind of dividend at all?
“These, and many other questions, will once again ring around the echo chamber in Andy Murray’s mind as he tries to plot a path towards one last hurrah at Wimbledon this summer.
“While the rest of us ask ourselves: ‘Is it really all worth it any more?’”
It also included the lines: “He says he wants to keep playing while he’s enjoying it. Surely the fun stopped many months ago.
“At what point does bravely soldiering on start to damage his legacy?”
It’s that last point in particular the Dunblane ace took exception to, furious with the suggestion that carrying on was doing more harm than good and reiterated that he is still giving it his all on the court.
Currently ranked 49th in the world, Murray posted a comment retweet less than two hours after the original was posted stating: “Tarnishing my legacy? Do me a favour.
“I’m in a terrible moment right now I’ll give you that. Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now.
“But I’m not most people and my mind works differently. I won’t quit.
“I will keep fighting and working to produce the performances I know I’m capable of.”
The original post and Murray’s response have generated a huge amount of comments, the vast majority of which supported the veteran Scot and encouraged him to play for as long as he wishes.
Andy Roddick was among the many in the tennis community to throw his support behind Murray, who has two Wimbledon titles, 733 career wins, was world No. 1 and earned almost $98 million in prize money.
Roddick, who like Murray was world No. 1 and won the US Open, replied: “Preach!
“Imagine telling an accomplished iconic adult your opinion on what they should choose for work and when they should do it ….
“This is such a dumb, thirsty article. Can’t take a legacy away. Accomplishment lives forever.”
Martina Navratilova commented: “Whenever Andy decides. Not one match sooner or later.
“And his legacy will be just fine, don’t you worry about it!”
Many other comments took issue with the original article.
“Tarnishing a legacy is unbelievably disrespectful and ridiculous. Terrible moments pass and a few recent losses don’t define a career or a legacy,” was one reply.
“What the hell has it got to do with you?” wrote another. “If the man is enjoying what he is doing then he should carry on.”
After kickstarting 2024 with three straight defeats – in Brisbane, Melbourne and Montpellier – Murray has entered upcoming events in Marseilles, Doha and Dubai.
He has already hinted this could be his final season on tour and he may never play at the Australian Open again after confessing he was “not really enjoying tennis” at the end of 2023.
Speaking at Melbourne Park where he is a five-time finalist, Murray said: “It’s a definite possibility that will be the last time I play here.
“In comparison to the matches that I played here last year, it’s the complete opposite feeling walking off the court.”
As for a retirement date, he continued: “I have an idea of when I would probably like to finish, so much of that depends on how you’re playing.
“The time frame for that narrows when you play and have results like today.”
This article originally appeared in The Sun and was reproduced with permission