Roger Federer and Andy Murray were two of the players in the Big-4 club of tennis. While Federer was already dominating the Tour, Murray separated himself from the Tour in just a couple of seasons. Murray however was unlucky in terms of Grand Slam wins while the other three racked up titles.
Murray however had fitness issues throughout and the biggest setback came in the 2017 season. He eventually had to fit a metal hip to be able to return to the Tour. He however suffered another setback in 2019 whose details were recently divulged by Federer speaking with Christopher Clarey for New York Times.
“I was scared with Murray. I vividly remember seeing him in the locker room in Australia in 2019 after his game against Bautista Agut. I remember he said, “I may be finished”. We were asked to make farewell videos. So I went up to him and asked him, “Are you really going to quit? “ revealed Federer.
“I’m happy to be the first, because I’m also supposed to be the first,”: Roger Federer on retirement
Having just won the 2016 ATP Finals and also secured the World No. 1 rank, Murray couldn’t keep up the fitness level and his hip injury got worse over the years eventually requiring surgery and a metal hip replacement. The 2017 and 2018 seasons were injury-marred that saw him rank outside the Top 800.
Going into the 2019 Australian Open, Murray had already announced plans to retire in a press conference. While he did play at the major and continues to be an active player, Federer talked about how he is happy to see the 3-time Grand Slam champion still battling it out on the Tour.
“And I remember he was like, “Well, with that hip, I can’t play anymore. So he knew he was at a huge crossroads in his life. But yes, I’m happy to be the first, because I’m also supposed to be the first. So that’s why it feels good. And I hope they can all play as long as possible and squeeze the lemon. I really wish them the best,” added Federer.
Murray stood beside Federer during his retirement at the recently concluded 2022 Laver Cup. Despite multiple injury setbacks, Murray continues to find the strength to battle on and give his opponents a tough challenge. While he has not won a Tour title since 2019, he has made massive ranking improvements and is currently ranked 47th.