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Andy Murray

Is Andy Murray’s Amazing Career Coming to an End?

On 15th January 2024, Andy Murray lost in the first round of the Australian Open in straight sets for only the second time in his career… the first being way back in 2006 when he was a fledgling pro. Murray hasn’t made it past the third round of a Grand Slam tournament since his quarter-final appearance at Wimbledon in 2017.

The man who beat Murray in Melbourne, Tomás Martín Etcheverry, is currently ranked 32nd in the world. Former world number one Murray, meanwhile is currently rated as the 44th best player in the men’s singles games, and really that could be seen as quite generous based on recent performances. So is Murray’s excellent career beginning to fizzle out, and is the three-time Grand Slam winner likely to call it a day even before this season is completed?

How Did Murray Lose in the 2024 Australian Open?

There was a time not so many years ago when Andy Murray would go into the Grand Slams as one of the favourites to win… well, often the fourth-favourite behind superstars Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. But still, it would often come as a big shock if he didn’t cruise through the early rounds and make it to the quarters at least. So what caused Murray to lose in straight sets to a player many casual tennis fans might not even have heard of?

Ultimately, the later years of Murray’s career have been blighted by injuries, most notably to his hips (for which he’s had two bouts of surgery). Although he won some minor (Challenger) tournaments in 2023, he has never been near his best since his hip surgery and against Etcheverry, Murray didn’t look anywhere near the standard required. One thing that was also notable was that Murray’s usual fire and desire seemed somewhat dampened for large parts of the match, which perhaps suggests that he felt resigned to his fate and maybe accepting that his time at the elite level could be coming to an end.

Murray’s Grand Slam Record 2014 to 2024

Year Australian Open French Open Wimbledon US Open
2014 Quarter-final Semi-final Quarter-final Quarter-final
2015 Final Semi-final Semi-final Fourth Round
2016 Final Final Won Quarter-final
2017 Fourth Round Semi-final Quarter-final Absent
2018 Absent Absent Absent Second Round
2019 First Round Absent Absent Absent
2020 Absent First Round No Tournament Second Round
2021 Absent Absent Third Round First Round
2022 Second Round Absent Second Round Third Round
2023 Third Round Absent Second Round Second Round
2024 First Round

As you can see, Murray’s form was excellent at the Grand Slams in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and wasn’t bad in 2017 until injury troubles began. These led him to miss many tournaments in the next few years, including 11 Grand Slams. In the Grand Slam tournaments he was able to attend in the last few years, there hasn’t been too much to celebrate for Murray. As mentioned, he had become accustomed to making it to the latter stages of the biggest events, so to lose out in the earlier rounds must have been hard to take. For a man of his obvious competitiveness, there is surely only so long he can turn up to take an early-round beating.

How Close is Murray to Retiring?

Although there is a lot of immediate speculation about Murray’s future after his latest tournament exit (and yes, we realise we are adding to it!), Murray has been in a similar position before. Indeed, the last time he lost in the opening round in the Aussie Open, he openly suggested that could be the last time he appeared at the event. He was absent the next two years through injury, but he was able to make it to the next three (albeit not making it further than the third round). But this time, based on Murray’s body language and apparent lack of energy, we think the writing could be on the wall for the Scot.

After his defeat to Etcheverry, Murray said, “I won’t win many matches playing that way,” and “It’s a definite possibility that will be the last time I play here.”

Of course, when Murray retires from top-level tennis will ultimately come down to when he – or his body – decides is the right time. But we get the impression he’ll be keen to make it Wimbledon one last time before he calls it a day. And, with the crowd behind him, he might just end on a high.

What Beckons for Murray After Retirement?

There are various options available to Murray once he hangs up his racquet. One of the obvious routes would be to try his hand at broadcasting. The BBC and other networks who show regular tennis tournaments would no doubt welcome Murray with open arms, despite his rather unanimated vocal style. There’s no doubt Murray possesses not only an excellent knowledge of the game and a great personal insight, but he’s also both measured and honest when giving his opinions. So if the rather less-measured John McEnroe can make a successful career in commentary and punditry, we are confident Murray can too.

Another route open to Murray, which could be done alongside TV work, would be to compete on the ATP Champions Tour. He already fits the criteria as he’s a former world number one and a Grand Slam finalist (indeed a multiple Grand Slam winner) and he’s over 35 years old. With only a handful of events a year, the schedule would probably still work for Murray if he has media commitments. There would also be plenty of exhibition match opportunities, both at the Grand Slams or at standalone events, if Murray wanted to keep playing at a reasonable level. He might even rekindle a few old rivalries if the likes of Federer and Nadal go down that route!