Murray to make Wimbledon decision 'as late as possible'

Andy Murray hits a return during practice at Queen's
Andy Murray is planning to retire from professional tennis later this year [Getty Images]

Andy Murray will make a decision "as late as possible" about a farewell Wimbledon appearance - but says it is "more likely" he will be unable to play singles next week.

The 37-year-old Briton has returned to training after having a procedure on a back issue at the weekend.

Former world number one Murray, who won two of his three Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon, plans to retire later this year.

The Championships start at the All England Club on Monday.

"I'm going to wait until the last minute to see if I'm going to be able to play and I've earned that right to do that," said Murray, who ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's singles champion in 2013 and won again in 2016.

"This is not clear-cut where I am 100% going to be ready to play or there is a 0% chance that I can play. That is the situation.

"I would say it's probably more likely that I'm not able to play singles right now."

Before his back problem flared up at Queen's last week, the Scot had intended to play in the singles and doubles - alongside his brother Jamie - at Wimbledon.

The siblings, who have never played doubles together at Wimbledon, were officially handed a wildcard entry for the doubles on Thursday as expected.

Murray's name still remains in the pot for the men's singles draw, which will be made on Friday at 10:00 BST.

The doubles draw takes place at 12:00 BST on Friday with the event starting on Wednesday, but Murray could play later in the week which would give him more recovery time.

"Maybe it's my ego getting in the way but I feel that I deserve the opportunity to give it until the very last moment to make that decision," said Murray.

"It's complicated, and it's made more complicated because I want to play at Wimbledon one more time.

"I want to have that opportunity to play the tournament."

Murray wants to go out playing 'proper match'

Having returned after hip surgery in 2019, and battled through various injuries since, Murray's illustrious career is finally coming towards the end.

Murray, who is also a two-time Olympic champion, said earlier this month that retiring at Wimbledon or the Olympics would be "fitting", given his success in both events.

But needing surgery for a cyst on his spinal cord, which he underwent on Saturday, has thrown those plans into disarray.

The operation came three days after he was forced to stop after five games of his second-round match at Queen's.

Before walking out to play Australia's Jordan Thompson, Murray suffered "nerve-type discomfort" and said it caused a "loss of strength, coordination and control" in his right leg.

"The last week has been pretty tough," Murray said.

"I was told I had to have the surgery immediately by multiple surgeons because of the nature of the problem.

"I was given multiple different timelines for how long [recovery] would take and was also made aware that if I decided to try to play Wimbledon that there's some risk associated with that.

"It's whether or not I'm willing to take on that risk. But also even with there potentially being a risk, I've obviously had the operation and the operation has gone really, really well."

After winning Olympic gold at London 2012 and Rio 2016, Murray is hoping to compete at a fifth Games when the tennis event starts in Paris on 27 July.

If he is able to play at Wimbledon and the Olympics, he says that is "most likely to be it" before retiring.

"I've had the conversation with my family and I have a family holiday booked the week after the Olympics. I'm not planning on going over to New York [for the US Open]," he said.

"But then I also don't want the last time that I played on a tennis court to be what happened at Queen's either.

"Because of what I put into the sport over the last however many years, I would at least like to go out playing a proper match where I'm at least competitive, not what happened at Queen's."


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

The longer you play, the harder it is to find the perfect stage on which to bow out.

Wimbledon and the Olympics are two obvious opportunities. They have been on Murray’s mind for a while now, which is why the timing of the spinal cyst is particularly cruel.

No other event could provide such a fitting way for Murray to say goodbye, hence his fervent hope that he can play competitively some time in July.

And maybe he won’t be fully fit - just as Roger Federer wasn’t when he played that memorable final doubles match with Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup of 2022.