Tennis: Andy Murray announces unexpected retirement

Scottish tennis star Andy Murray has announced he will retire this year, due to a lingering hip injury.

The 31-year-old broke down in tears at a press conference in Melbourne on Friday as he revealed he would not be competing beyond Wimbledon, but admitted he might have to call it quits after the Australian Open.       

The three-time Grand Slam champion had to withdraw from last year's Australian Open before having surgery on his hip in Melbourne.

He returned to tennis in June and played in 14 before ending his year in September so he could spend time working with rehabilitation expert Bill Knowles.

But the pain is starting to become too much for the former world number one, as he is considering going under the knife again.

Murray walked out of his press conference in tears after being asked about the status of his hip, before returning a few minutes later when he revealed his plans to retire.

"Obviously I've been struggling for a long time, and I've been in a lot of pain for about 20 months now," an emotional Murray said.         

"I've pretty much done everything that I could to try and get my hip feeling better, and it hasn't helped loads. I'm in a better place than I was six months ago but still in a lot of pain. It's been tough.

"I'm going to play. I can still play to a level [although], just not a level that I'm happy playing at. But it's not just that. The pain is too much really, and I don't want to continue playing that way."

Murray revealed he had spoken to his coaching team and management and outlined his intention to get through to Wimbledon before hanging up the racquet.

"I told them I can't keep doing this, and I needed to have an end point because I was playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop," he added. "I told them I think I can get through this until Wimbledon. That's where I'd like to stop playing, but I'm also not certain I will able to do that."

Murray then confessed that the pain is so bad, that he might have to retire after the Australian Open.

"Yes, I think there's a chance of that for sure because I'm not sure I'm able to play through the pain for another four or five months.

"I have an option to have another operation, which is a little bit more severe than what I've had before in having my hip resurfaced, which will allow me to have a better quality of life and be out of pain.

"That's something I'm seriously considering right now. Some athletes have had that and gone back to competing, but there's obviously no guarantees with that, and the reason for having an operation like that is not to return to professional sport, it's just for a better quality of life."

Murray won the US Open in 2012 and Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016 to join Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the 'big four' of men's tennis. 

On top of his three Grand Slams, Murray won gold at the London and Rio Olympics in 2012 and 2016. 

He was knighted in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to tennis and charity.

The Scot, who is ranked 230th in the world, will play Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round in Melbourne.