(Reuters) – Reaction in the tennis and sports world to Andy Murray’s announcement on Friday that this year’s Australian Open could be the British former world number one’s last professional tournament:
FORMER WORLD NUMBER ONE BILLIE JEAN KING
“@andy_murray You are a champion on and off the court. So sorry you cannot retire on your own terms, but remember to look to the future.
“Your greatest impact on the world may be yet to come. Your voice for equality will inspire future generations. Much love to you your family.”
FORMER U.S. OPEN CHAMPION JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO
“Andy, just watched your conference. Please don’t stop trying. Keep fighting. I can imagine your pain and sadness. I hope you can overcome this.
“You deserve to retire on your own terms, whenever that happens. We love you @andy_murray and we want to see you happy and doing well.”
WORLD NUMBER 51 NICK KYRGIOS
“You will always be someone that impacted the sport in so many different ways, I know this was never the way you wanted to go out, but hey it was a heck of a ride.
“You took me under your wing as soon as I got on tour, and to this day you have been someone I literally just look forward to seeing. You’re one crazy tennis player, miles better than me.
“I just want you to know that today isn’t only a sad day for you and your team, it’s a sad day for the sport and for everyone you’ve had an impact on.”
BRITISH NUMBER ONE KYLE EDMUND
“For me he’s been my biggest role model out of any tennis player. He’s Britain’s greatest tennis player ever and you could say maybe Britain’s best sportsman ever.”
DOUBLES GREAT BOB BRYAN
“We’ll all forever remember the mark he left on our sport… but I’ll also never forget the afternoon he carved out of his busy training schedule to help raise money for our kids foundation. This guy has a heart of gold and will always be a legend in tennis and life.”
MURRAY’S FORMER COACH DARREN CAHILL
“When you search for examples of ’emptied the bucket to be as good as they could be’ there should be a picture of Andy Murray sitting under that quote.
“Remarkable discipline for training, competition, sacrifice, perfection, a little crazy but a legend of a bloke. Bravo Andy.”
FORMER U.S. OPEN CHAMPION ANDY RODDICK
“If this is true, I tip my cap to @andy_murray! Absolute legend. Short list of best tacticians in history. Unreal results in a brutal era… Nothing but respect here. I hope he can finish strong and healthy.
“Just thinking out loud here. He deserves his moment to say goodbye at Wimbledon. He’s too important to Great Britain and Wimbledon history to not have it.”
FORMER WORLD NUMBER TWO MAGNUS NORMAN
“If true. Feel down to the bone for Andy Murray right now. Amazing player, fighter, nr 1 and multiple GS champion. Deepest respect.”
FORMER WORLD NUMBER ONE KIM CLIJSTERS
“My heart breaks listening to @andy_murray during his press conference… Hope he will make it through to Wimbledon and have the farewell he deserves. #greatguy.”
WORLD NUMBER SIX KEVIN ANDERSON
“My thoughts are with @andy_murray and I really hope we continue to see you fighting on court so you can retire on your own terms. Get well soon… Tennis is better with you.”
U.S. DAVIS CUP TEAM CAPTAIN MARDY FISH
“The @andy_murray that I know will absolutely make it to Wimbledon to play his final tournament. Not many with more heart, effort in the history of the game. Was always a pleasure to share the court pal.”
BRITISH NUMBER ONE JOHANNA KONTA
“There have been so many examples of when he has stood up for us – not just for women’s tennis but women in general… Everybody has always been very appreciative of him and how he has stood up for the women’s side of the game.”
WORLD NUMBER 93 HEATHER WATSON
“Keep fighting Andy, you’re got a heart of pure gold! You’re most definitely one of the most liked and respected players on the tour.
“I know all of us girls in the locker room are in awe so grateful for how you always fight in our corner! Thank you so much for that. You inspire me in so many ways and I don’t want you to go.”
TENNIS SCOTLAND CHIEF EXECUTIVE BLANE DODDS
“The outpouring of love and respect from across the tennis world and beyond only serves as a reminder of his incredible career achievements and the high esteem with which he is held, recognizing his immense contribution to the sport as well as to countless causes.
“We must all cherish and enjoy every remaining moment we have with Andy playing the sport he loves.”
WORLD NUMBER 21 GRIGOR DIMITROV
“Tennis will come to an end for us all but the friendships will last a lifetime. What you’ve done for the sport will live on forever. I’m hoping for a strong and healthy finish for you, my friend! @andy_murray.”
SCOTTISH SNOOKER GREAT STEPHEN HENDRY
“Hard to read that @andy_murray being forced to retire because of injury, no doubt one of Scotland’s greatest ever sportsmen.”
DALLAS MAVERICKS FORWARD DIRK NOWITZKI
GOLF WORLD NUMBER ONE JUSTIN ROSE
“What a career @andy_murray keep it going as everybody wants to watch you @Wimbledon in July mate. #GOAT.”
FORMER HEPTATHLETE KELLY SOTHERTON
“Having your body retire you before your mind is extremely hard in professional sport. It’s because it is not your choice and that’s heartbreaking. #AndyMurray #iknow.”
UK LABOR PARTY DEPUTY LEADER TOM WATSON
“Andy Murray’s cocktail of raw passion, talent and determination helped drive him to the top at the most brutal time in tennis history. While sad to see him retiring, Andy will rank as one of our country’s greatest ever, and most gifted, sporting stars.”
(Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Stutchbury/John O’Brien and Christian Radnedge)