Andy Roddick, Sania Mirza react to Andy Murray’s retirement
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Andy Roddick, Sania Mirza react to Andy Murray’s retirement

American star Andy Roddick led the tributes to the former world number one, describing his 11-time opponent as an “absolute legend” who is on the “short list of best tacticians” in the history of the sport.

tennis Updated: Jan 11, 2019 17:02 IST
AFP
AFP
Melbourne
Andy Roddick,Sania Mirza,Andy Murray
File image of Andy Murray.(Reuters)

Tennis ace Andy Murray’s tearful announcement about being forced to retire this year prompted a volley of tributes to the man, fond recollections of a historic career and encouragement to serve up a fitting farewell.

American star Andy Roddick led the tributes to the former world number one, describing his 11-time opponent as an “absolute legend” who is on the “short list of best tacticians” in the history of the sport.

“Unreal results in a brutal era. Nothing but respect here. I hope he can finish strong and healthy,” he said.

Murray’s failure to recover from a long-term hip injury has put his dream to win next week’s Australian Open almost beyond reach.

Such is the level of pain that there is speculation he may not be able to go the distance, much less set up a dream farewell at Wimbledon this July.

ALSO READ: Andy Murray may retire after the Australian Open

Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro -- who fell short against Murray in a memorable 2016 Olympic gold medal game -- urged him not to throw in the towel.

The sentiment was echoed by tennis’ women stars, who Murray championed -- famously rebuking a journalist for glossing over American greats like Serena Williams arguing for equal billing on the centre courts.

Legend Billie Jean King declared him a “champion on and off the court”.

“Your greatest impact on the world may be yet to come. Your voice for equality will inspire future generations.” That sentiment was echoed by Belgian four-time major winner Kim Clijsters, who like many could not help but be moved by Murray’s emotional announcement.

It is in his native Britain that the announcement will be perhaps most keenly felt.

Murray’s status as the greatest British male player in several generations meant he carried the expectations of a nation onto the court. By meeting them, his impact transcended tennis.

Many hoped he can muster the strength and fitness to return to the All England Club - where he twice won in fairytale fashion - for a career finale.

“US Davis Cup captain Mardy Fish pointed to Murray’s famous determination, which helped him compete against stronger and more skilled players.

First Published: Jan 11, 2019 16:59 IST