ATP

Bartoli hails Murray's 'historic' impact on British tennis as retirement beckons

By Sports Desk July 24, 2023

Andy Murray will leave a lasting legacy on British tennis after his "historic" Wimbledon exploits when retirement eventually comes, according to Marion Bartoli.

Murray and Bartoli both triumphed at Wimbledon in 2013, the Scot defeating Novak Djokovic in straight sets and the Frenchwomen overcoming Sabine Lisicki.

A troublesome hip injury and subsequent surgery has caused issues in recent years for Murray, who also lifted the Wimbledon title in 2016 – adding to his US Open crown four years earlier.

The 36-year-old confirmed before the Queen's Championship last month that he has a period in mind for ending his professional career, leading Bartoli to hail Murray's impact on the sport.

"It's more for British tennis because the buzz when he won Wimbledon in 2013 for the first time was just insane – basically the whole country tuning in to watch that match," she told Stats Perform.

"Even the whole press, who are normally quite harsh with the players, especially the tabloids, were just cheering on for him because it was so historic.

"I can just remember the dinner we had at the Champions' Ball with Andy and his mother and my father and myself and it just felt like dinner with a mother and son, father and daughter, just being on the top of the world and just winning.

"Judy could say 'My son just won Wimbledon' and my dad could say 'My daughter just won Wimbledon' – it was very much that feeling. It was so special."

Murray, who has won two ATP Challenger titles this season, only made it as far as the second round at Wimbledon this month, losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in a battling display on Centre Court.

His appearance at the British major represented another major milestone nevertheless, given injuries seemed set to curtail his playing days after the 2023 Australian Open.

Bartoli added: "For Andy, after all his surgeries and everything, it's about how much he can still enjoy his tennis.

"When he feels that's it, that every day on the practice court is not as enjoyable as usual, and he's dragging himself to practice, that’s when the passion is vanishing and you know it's time [to retire].

"It's not that difficult of a decision when that happens. When you still have that passion and fire but your body doesn't follow anymore, then it's slightly more difficult.

"In many ways, Andy had a second chance. He'd sort of announced his retirement when he lost in the Australian Open and everyone was crying.

"Then he decided to come back and he had those successes and those great matches and epics, so maybe he already feels like he had his second chance.

"He'll walk away with a beautiful family, a business – a hotel, I think, in Scotland where he grew up – so he has so many things to look forward to. I think he'll be a very happy man."

Murray's diminishing influence on the upper echelons of tennis marks a downturn in British fortunes, with Cameron Norrie seemingly the next in line.

"For the British side of tennis – you have Cameron Norrie – but you feel that especially with [Carlos] Alcaraz coming in and all those players it's going to be more difficult to win a slam," Bartoli continued.

"But he's going to have his chance as well. He's close to being top 10."

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