Sight of Andy Murray reduced to tears over thought of retirement is genuinely hard to watch
Genuinely tough to watch.
No matter what your thoughts are on Andy Murray as a person, and many base theirs' on the untrue and unfair depiction of him as a boring, drone-like personality, there's absolutely no denying the fact that the Scot is one of the most competitive, hard-working and genuine competitors ever to have picked up a tennis racket.
For years, Murray was motivated by the carrot, the Everest of winning a major title and when all of that grit and heartache eventually eventually led to him beating Novak Djokovic to win the US Open in 2012, there wasn't a sinner in the tennis world who could begrudge him.
With that famous Flushing Meadows victory, he became the first British man to win a Grand Slam since 1936 and he exacted the hurt of losing two Australian Open finals in the years' previous.
There is an acceptance out there that the Scot was never the most talented of tennis players - not in the mould of Federer or Nadal anyway, but that should only further underline his feats and should increase the respect and the awed tones with which we view and speak of him.
He squeezed every last drop of talent out of himself through sheer hard work and dedication and it resulted in him winning three major titles and two Olympic Gold medals for himself. That is an inspiration in itself.
Friday morning was a sad day for the 31-year-old.
Recent years haven't been as kind to him, despite his best efforts, with the persistent, nagging back and hip injuries breaking him down and slinging him down to 230 in the world rankings.
For years, he fought against them but it looks like now they have finally taken their toll.
With the strain of the injuries sharpening and intensifying their grip on him in the last year, Murray's long held aim has been to bow out at Wimbledon 2019 in July, but on the eve of the Australian Open, the Scot revealed that he may not be able to even make it Wimbledon.
First, he was unable to bring himself to speak to a group of reporters.
The start to Andy Murray's press conference was very emotional 😢 pic.twitter.com/hObwoj71uo
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 11, 2019
Then he let them know that his match against Bautista Agut could well be his last.
“I am not sure I am able to play through the pain for another four or five months,” he said.
MURRAY ON VERGE OF RETIREMENT 😢
An emotional @andy_murray is set to retire this year and would like to bow out at Wimbledon.
What has been your favourite highlight of his career? 🎾
More on the story here: https://t.co/HFchAa6ec2 pic.twitter.com/RwahqF98RX
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 11, 2019
Sad, sad times but what a career he's had.
Unsurprisingly, the tennis players and personalities far and wide were paying tribute to the Dunblane man, but perhaps the most touching was Nick Kyrgios' tribute.
Kyrgios is a notoriously feisty character on court, but he always got on well with Murray who brought the best out of him.
He acknowledged Murray's news with some warm words on his Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
Andy, I know you take me for a joker most of the time, but at least hear me out on this one old friend. You will always be someone that impacted the sport in so many different ways, I know this was never the way you wanted to go out, but hey it was a heck of a ride. You took me under your wing as soon as I got on tour, and to this day you have been someone I literally just look forward to seeing. You are one crazy tennis player, miles better than me, but I just want you to know that today isn’t only a sad day for you and your team, it’s a sad day for the sport and for everyone you’ve had an impact on. Which leaves me big fella.. these are a couple photos, that should make you smile and think, I was actually a little bit of a younger brother to you. Anyways, I just want you to know, and I’m sure you already do, everyone wants you to keep fighting and to keep being you. Goodluck at the Australian Open muzz, I’ll be behind you. #onelastdance 🙌🏽🙏🏽