|Australian Open 2019|
|Venue: Melbourne Park Presents: 14-27 January|
|Coverage: Daily live commentaries to the BBC Sport website, Hear Tennis Breakfast daily by 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 live sports Excess Watching highlights on BBC TV and on Line from 1-9 January.|
Andy Murray was”a champion on and off court”, said American tennis legend Billie Jean King after the Briton revealed he intends to retire this year.
Murray, who’s won three Grand Slams and become a world number 1, is being forced to quit because of a hip injury.
And the 31-year-old Scot says the next week’s Australian Open could be the ultimate tournament of his career.
“So sorry you cannot retire on your terms,” tweeted 12-time Grand Slam winner King.
King was one of several former and current players connecting buffs in offering their best wishes to Murray following his announcement Melbourne on Friday.
The two-time Olympic champion says he has been in”serious pain” as attempts to go back to the activity following surgery on his right hip a year ago.
He says he wants to play Wimbledon this summer before giggling, but admits that might be impossible.
Kyle Edmund, Murray’s replacement as British men’s number one, said that his compatriot”might be Britain’s greatest ever sportsman”.
“For me he has been my main role model outside of almost any tennis player,” said Edmund, who first met Murray if he was 14 and started hitting with him several decades after.
“To be able to have had the experiences that I’ve had with him personally and memories of training together with him and having to know him personally, and seeing exactly what he has done on the courtroom and achieved, he’s definitely helped my livelihood “
British women’s number one Johanna Konta said that she could”maybe not imagine the game without him”, while Heather Watson said he”can not be replaced” in British tennis.
However, it is not just Murray’s playing accomplishments that have brought the praise of the peers.
He is certainly a voice for gender equality, usually speaking for players from the women’s excursion, also in 2014 became one of the first male players to have a female coach when he appointed Amelie Mauresmo.
King, 75, is among the strongest individuals in tennis, using struggled for gender equality all through her career and founded the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), as well as being considered as one of the sport’s best players.
“Your best influence on the world could possibly be yet to emerge. Your voice for equality will inspire future generations,” she told Murray in a tweet.
Konta says female players are grateful for Murray’s support.
“There have been lots of examples of if he has stood up for women’s tennis and women generally,” she said.
“He has voiced his opinions and has tackled some issues and questions that have arisen.
“I think everybody has always been very appreciative of him how he has stood up for the women’s side of the match “