Andy Murray launched a furious rebuke against a BBC reporter who questioned his legacy, vowing he “won’t quit” despite latest defeat.
Murray’s dreadful start to 2024 got worse on Monday, as he suffered his worst loss on ranking in eight months against out-of-form Benoit Paire in Marseille.
It followed a disappointing trip Down Under, where he lost both matches he played, including the Australian Open first round, in what he said may have been his final appearance in Melbourne.
That sparked new questions about his retirement plans, but Murray was upset to read a BBC Scotland article published on Tuesday, which speculated whether his legacy was at risk of being damaged by his run of recent losses.
‘Most people would quit...but I’m not most people’
“Tarnishing my legacy? Do me a favour,” Murray wrote on X, quote-tweeting BBC reporter Kheredine Idessane’s post. “I’m in a terrible moment right now I’ll give you that. Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now. But I’m not most people and my mind works differently. I won’t quit. I will keep fighting and working to produce the performances I know I’m capable of.”
The 36-year-old’s furious post gave an insight into where his head is at after a difficult few months. The “terrible moment” he mentioned is no overstatement: Murray has now lost eight of his last nine matches, in a run of poor form that stretches back to September.
Monday’s 2-6 7-6(5) 6-3 result against Paire was his fifth consecutive loss - the worst winless run of his career - and he stormed off the court in frustration afterwards.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) January 29, 2024
Defeat to the world No 112 Frenchman was particularly bad as Murray squandered a one-set lead to give his mercurial opponent his first tour-level win since August 2022.
“At what point does bravely soldiering on start to damage [Murray’s] legacy?” Idessane wrote of Murray’s poor run in the BBC article, as well as speculating about the toll these losses may be taking on the former world No 1’s mental health.
Three-time major champion Murray has not revealed exact timelines for when he intends to retire, but said this could be his last season if he is “not enjoying it”.
He has previously said he wants to achieve at least one more deep run at a major, and is thought to be aiming to qualify for a final Olympics in Paris this summer.
Murray has not reached the second week at a Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon 2017, before he underwent multiple major surgeries, including hip resurfacing surgery. But his defiant promise on Tuesday to keep plugging away at his tennis career suggests he still has fight left in him yet.
His post sparked a huge response, including from tennis legend Martina Navratilova.
Whenever Andy decides. Not one match sooner or later. And his legacy will be just fine, don’t you worry about it!
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) January 30, 2024
Former American player Andy Roddick also voiced his support of Murray: “Imagine telling an accomplished iconic adult your opinion on what they should choose for work and when they should do it …. This is such a dumb, thirsty article. Can’t take a legacy away. Accomplishment lives forever.”
Murray is next due to play in Doha and Dubai later this month.