Murray drops clearest retirement admission yet as he sends dad emotional message

Andy Murray dropped his clearest hint yet about his potential retirement date as he referenced his “last few months”. The world No. 67 earned just his second match win of the year as he came from a set down to beat Denis Shapovalov in the first round in Dubai. And he sent an emotional message to his dad after the victory.

Murray fuelled retirement speculation after defeating Shapovalov 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 at the Dubai Championships on Monday. The three-time Grand Slam champion was informed that he reached 500 career hard-court wins with the victory, joining Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal as the only men to achieve the feat.

As he marvelled at the milestone, the 36-year-old hinted that he didn’t have long left of his career. “It’s not bad. Yeah I mean obviously hard courts have been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches,” he said of the landmark victory.

“So yeah, I’m very proud of that. Obviously the list you’ve given there, not many players that have done that. Great to get to 500 before I’m done.” But Murray was reminded that he wasn’t done just yet, as he recently confirmed that he still felt motivated to compete despite going on a six-month losing run between October and February.

On-court interview Karthi Gnanasegaram also reminded Murray that he sparked concern last week in Doha when he shouted “this game isn’t for me anymore” towards his box during his three-set loss to teenage wildcard Jakub Mensik. While the former No. 1 admitted it was a comment made in the heat of the moment, he hinted that he didn’t have long left before hanging up his racket as he appeared to put a time frame on his career.

Murray replied: “People read a lot into what I say on court. Sometimes it’s not always rational but everyone asks me about it [retirement] all the time anyway. So yeah look, I obviously still love competing, I still love the game.

“It gets harder and harder the older you get to compete with the young guys and keep your body fit and fresh. It’s not easy. I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do the best I can these last few months.”