In an announcement on his Facebook page, he said:
“Hey everyone… It is with a heavy heart that I’m announcing that I’ll be withdrawing from Wimbledon this year.
“I’ve made significant progress in practice and matches over the last 10 days, but after lengthy discussions with my team, we’ve decided that playing best of five set matches might be a bit too soon in the recovery process. We did everything we could to try to be ready in time.
“I will start practising on the hard courts from tomorrow and continuing with my rehab and recovery, and I’m looking forward to the US hardcourt season.
“Thanks for all the messages of support and I’m excited to finally be back playing after so long out.”
There had been uncertainty about his participation following a very limited comeback to the tour just a fortnight ago at the Queen’s Club. He lost there in a long and testing opening match to Nick Kyrgios in his first match since losing in the Wimbledon quarter-final last year.
He went on to take a wild card into Eastbourne last week, where he won his opener against Stan Wawrinka, but went out in the second round to the current British No1, Kyle Edmund, and had been at Wimbledon practising hard through the last few days.
Once the draw came and went on Friday, most took that as a good indication that Murray intended to play the tournament as an unseeded No156. Asked for confirmation in his pre-tournament press conference yesterday, he said:
“Yeah, unless in the next couple of days I wake up and don’t feel good.
“I mean, through all of this, I have to view it very much day by day, just as a process. I’m practising, a high level, a high intensity, every day with some of the best players in the world. That’s really positive for me as part of getting better, to compete again…
“I’m just trying to right now keep building, practising with these guys, then hopefully pulling up each day and obviously competing in the matches, which went well I think the last couple of weeks, in Queen’s and Eastbourne. So far here that’s also been the case, which is good.”
It has been a long road back to fitness for the two-time former Wimbledon who world No1 here last year. He was already limping with hip pain when he arrived in London after the French Open, attempted to return at the US Open, and again in Australia, but eventually resorted to hip surgery.
The Wimbledon draw, however, did him few favours: He faced the tricky Benoit Paire in the first round, then either Jeremy Chardy—who has piled up the grass wins in the last month—or the young, exciting Denis Shapovalov. He could then have faced the ever-dangerous Juan Martin del Potro.
It was always about whether Murray believed he could play at a level that was competitive, and in best-of-five-set matches, and such a line-up of opposition may have questioned the wisdom of taking on the challenge. Murray went on to admit to the press:
“Right now, I need to be very—maybe ‘cautious’ is not the right word—I need to be mindful of how I’m feeling on a day-to-day basis. Right now, you can’t say with 100 percent certainty when you only started competing 10 days ago how you’re going to feel after every match and each day.
“So I need to be very open with my team about that and let them know exactly how I’m feeling.”
“I was trying my best in the practice, although not maybe playing as well as I would have liked.”
This will be the first time since 2007, when he withdrew with a wrist injury, that Murray has missed Wimbledon, where he won the title in 2013 and 2016, and won Olympic gold in 2012.
His place in the draw is taken by Lucky Loser Jason Jung, who is actually ranked two places higher than Murray at 154 but has spent almost the entire year on the Challenger circuit and has never won a main-tour match on grass.
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