With his career hanging in the balance, Andy Murray has pulled out of a tennis tournament in Marseille next month as he contemplates hip surgery.
Murray lost a four-hour, five-set thriller to Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open in Melbourne Monday in what could have been the final match of an illustrious career.
The three-time grand slam champion, who said he would be quitting the sport this year because of the pain in his hip, faces the dilemma of whether to rest and make his farewell at Wimbledon, or have an operation which should improve his quality of life but could end his career.
“It’s tough but I don’t have a choice, I was very keen on returning to Marseille where I won the tournament in 2008,” Murray told the Open 13 Provence website explaining his withdrawal. “This title, one of the first of my career, remains a great memory.”
After his first-round loss in Melbourne Murray, who has tumbled to 229 in the world rankings after 18 months troubled by injury, opened the door to a possible return to Australia by saying he would “do everything possible” to play again in a tournament he has never won.
“I feel for him,” said Open 13 Provence tournament director Jean-François Caujolle. “It makes me sad to see such a great player, that is also a person that I like a lot, have to go through such tough times.
“I wish for him to be able to overcome this episode in order to come back to the courts and end his career on his own terms. He deserves it.”
The Open 13 Provence runs from February 18 to 24.