Andy Murray offers shock retirement hint after battling win over Denis Shapovalov in Dubai

Andy Murray secured his second win of 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)
Andy Murray secured his second win of 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

Andy Murray produced a typically gritty performance to battle past Denis Shapovalov at the Dubai Tennis Championships, before suggesting he may only have a “few months” left in his career.

The 36-year-old dropped the opening set but levelled the match up after a tense tie-break and then took the decider, winning 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in just over two and a half hours.

It is only the second match Murray has won in 2024, after his victory over Alexandre Muller in Qatar last week. He now has 500 hard-court wins to his name, joining Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal in the exclusive club.

Murray will face either fifth seed Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils in the last-16, as he targets a deep run in a tournament he won in 2017.

During defeat last week to Jakub Mensik, Murray appeared to tell his box: “This game is not for me any more.”

Asked about those comments after beating Shapovalov, Murray played them down, but did offer a revealing hint about his future plans.

“People read a lot into what I say on the court sometimes,” Murray said. “It’s not always rational, but everyone asks me about it all the time anyway.

“I still love competing, I still love the game. But it gets obviously harder and harder the older you get to compete with the young guys and keep your body fit and fresh.

“Not easy. I probably don’t have too long left, but I’ll do the best I can these last few months.”

The first eight games of the match in Dubai passed without a single break point, but Murray dropped serve at the crucial moment to hand Shapovalov a 5-4 lead and the 24-year-old comfortably served the set out.

It was a more eventful second set, Murray getting the first break but Shapovalov responded immediately to get it back on serve, as a tie-break was required.

Murray brought up a set point and converted it in thrilling fashion, as he brought Shapovalov forward with a drop volley and then made the forehand pass.

The Briton took charge of the decider with a break in the opening game and kept his nose in front throughout, sealing victory on the Shapovalov serve when the Canadian dumped a backhand into the net.