Andy Murray snaps up Kooyong Classic win and bats away retirement question – ‘I don’t have a timeframe’

Andy Murray in action Credit: Alamy
Andy Murray in action Credit: Alamy

Andy Murray is feeling fit and healthy ahead of the Australian Open and has vowed to continue playing tennis “as long as the body holds up well”.

After starting his 2023 campaign with a defeat in the opening round of the Adelaide International 1 against Sebastian Korda, Murray got a win under his belt at the exhibition Kooyong Classic on Wednesday.

But he didn’t have it all his own way against Zhang Zhizen as he needed a super tie-breaker to get the better of the world No 97 from China, winning 2-6, 6-3, 10-2.

“[Zhizen] had a great year last year. I am not 100 percent sure but I think he is the first Chinese man to make the top hundred which is incredible,” Murray said after the match.

“I played him a few years ago in Shenzhen and we had a tough match, and he has continued to climb up the rankings.

“He played really well at the beginning. He served well and was taking my time away but I managed to gradually improve as the match went on.”

This year marks Murray’s 18th season as a professional tennis player and, at the age of 35, he is in the twilight of his career.

Having struggled with injury for several years, the three-time Grand Slam winner is finally happy with his fitness again.

During the post-match press conference, the former world No 1 was asked about retirement and he replied: “A lot of things go into it [retirement] – first there is my family, the most important. Then there is my health.

“I’ve been healthy the last seven months. I’m not awakening with aches and pains like in the last few years.

“As long as the body holds up well and I’m training properly and performing to a level I’m enjoying, then I will keep going. But I don’t have a timeframe [for retirement].”

There were also wins for British No 1 Cameron Norrie and rising star Jack Draper on Wednesday.

Norrie followed up his win over Rafael Nadal at the United Cup last week with a 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 victory over Jiri Lehecka at the ASB Classic in Auckland.

“Credit to him, he really took it to me,” Norrie, who will face Marcos Giron in the second round, said.

“I really enjoyed the time on centre court, it’s good to be back in New Zealand, I’m just a little bit disappointed I couldn’t talk in front of (the crowd).”

Over at the Adelaide International 2, Draper picked up 6-4, 6-4 win over eighth seed Tommy Paul to earn a quarter-final clash against third seed Karen Khachanov.

READ MORE: 2023 Australian Open: When does it take place, high-profile absentees, draw, TV channels, prize money

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