The tears began to flow
It all began just before lunchtime on the Friday before the Australian Open, when Murray, having scheduled his pre-tournament press conference for 11am, was asked what was intended as a simple, gentle opening question. “How are you?” In response, Murray said: “Yeah, not great.” The tears began to flow and he needed a short break in a nearby room before he was able to continue.
Having been in pain for the best part of two years, Murray seemed to have reached an end-point and suggested he might hang up his rackets after Wimbledon, if he was able to make it that far.
The other possibility, he said, was to have a hip resurfacing operation that would stop the pain but would leave him unsure if he would ever be able to play again.
It was an emotional press conference throughout. Watching a man who had reached such highs in his career – three Grand Slam titles, two Olympic gold medals in singles, one Davis Cup crown, the world No 1 ranking and a stack of other tournament wins – clearly in pain, physical and emotional, was hard to do.
Despite all this, Murray said he would play the Australian Open.
Having been out for the best part of a year to June 2018, after a hip operation that didn’t really work, when Murray limped out onto court for his first-round match in Melbourne, he did with only one real expectation, that it might be his last.