Andy Murray believes there is “no perfect way to finish” his tennis career but has no concrete plans for his own retirement date just yet, despite seeing a number of his fellow big-name stars emotionally call it quits this year.
Serena Williams “evolved away from tennis” after the US Open - although she has since at least partly rowed back on the idea that she has retired - while Roger Federer’s long-standing knee problem caused him to hang up his racket following last month’s Laver Cup.
Both superstars enjoyed lavish parting ceremonies where their remarkable achievements were celebrated and honoured, with Federer lining up alongside long-time rival Rafa Nadal in a final doubles match and Williams reaching the third round in front of packed crowds at Flushing Meadows.
This year has also seen Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retire following his home grand slam, the French Open, and Frenchman Gilles Simon is calling it quits after this week’s Paris Masters.
Murray enjoyed a slightly premature emotional farewell at the 2019 Australian Open when it looked like injuries would put pay to his career, only for a hip resurfacing operation to enable a comeback, and while the Brit is aware of his tennis mortality, he hasn’t planned the specifics of his exit.
In an exclusive interview with Eurosport, Murray said: “I’m aware that I’m not going to be able to play forever. I know that.
“From this year, the way people finish is different for everyone. It’s very rare that you get a perfect ending. Serena had a good run at the US Open, played well and had some great results.
“Roger finished on the same side of the net as his biggest rival [Nadal at the Laver Cup]. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga finishing in France and Gilles [Simon] also finishing in France in front of a great atmosphere.
“So there are all different ways of doing it and there is no right way, there is no wrong way and there is no perfect way to finish, and it is just what feels right for you. Who knows when that will be [for me]?”
Murray lost in his opening match of the Paris Masters, to the retiring Simon, on Monday but has appreciated the public outpouring of love that the game’s biggest names have enjoyed as they exit.
“It is nice to see how much the sport means to these players and I think the ones that last the longest on the tour and that play for 15-20 years, the reason why they do it for such a long time is because they love it,” he added.
“They love the sport and it is nice to see them getting the send-off from the public.
“I don’t think players play to be loved by the public but I think it’s nice to feel loved and respected by them when you’re coming towards the end of your career, and it’s been nice seeing all of those players get that love, which maybe they don’t get as much during their career.
“I think sometimes people maybe realise when they [these players] come to the end what they have achieved and what they have meant to the sport. So that has been nice.”