Feeling 'helpless' against his old rival Novak Djokovic
on court this week tipped Andy Murray
into his shock retirement announcement.
The twice Wimbledon champion was in tears as he revealed that his career could be over as soon as next week, although ideally he would like to soldier on for a last farewell at the All England Club this summer.
While Murray has been fearing the worst since last month, it was the pasting he received from Djokovic during a simulated match situation on Thursday which confirmed that his chronic hip condition has finally beaten him.
'It's the feeling that I had during the practice, the state that I'm, you just kind of feel helpless on the court. It sucks,' he said.
'I've played I don't know how many hours of tennis against him here over the years, I haven't won the matches but most of them have been really tough, physical matches.
'Although I didn't win, the competitiveness was always there, and yesterday there was none of that, there was no feeling of rivalry.'
The 31-year-old Scot plays his first round at the Australian Open against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday but it could yet be his last match. Murray is in such pain that even putting on his shoes and socks is causing problems.
Whether he tries to hang on until Wimbledon will partly depend on his choice of surgical options to try to improve his overall quality of life, but do not underestimate Murray's determination to go out at the time and place of his choosing.
'When I got to Australia I thought "I am tired of it and don't really want to have another five months of that pain", and that's when I started discussing having something like that done. My hip needs to be replaced at some stage. It's badly damaged.'
Tributes flooded in after his emotional press conference, which went much further than had been expected.
Among them was one from Ivan Lendl, the coach who helped him get over the hump of winning a first Grand Slam title that had been proving so elusive.
'Tennis will lose a great competitor but he will leave a measure of true grit that we all can learn from,' said Lendl.
'Andy always left it all out on the court and I will look back with great feelings about the years we worked together. They were a lot of fun and filled with excitement.
'I am honoured to have been part of his team and to have been able to help him achieve as many of his lofty goals as possible.'