Friday, January 11, 2019

Murray, two-time San Jose champ, says he'll retire soon

Andy Murray, troubled by a nagging hip injury, said he will
retire after Wimbledon at the latest. The upcoming Australian
could be his last tournament. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Andy Murray, who won the first two of his 45 tour-level titles in San Jose, announced Thursday that he will retire after Wimbledon this year at the latest.
   Hobbled by a hip injury since June 2016, Murray said the Australian Open could be his last tournament. Play is scheduled for Sunday (California time) through Jan. 27.
   "I spoke to my team, and I told them, 'I cannot keep doing this,' " Murray, who underwent hip surgery last January, said in an emotional news conference in Melbourne. "I needed to have an end point because I was sort of playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop. I felt like making that decision.
   "I said to my team, 'Look, I think I can get through this until Wimbledon.' That's where I would like to stop playing. But I am also not certain I am able to do that."
   Murray, 31, has won three Grand Slam singles titles and two Olympic gold medals in singles. He ended British droughts of 77 years by winning Wimbledon in 2013 and 79 years by clinching a victory over Belgium in the 2015 Davis Cup final. Murray reached No. 1 in the world in November 2016.
   The last match of Murray's career could come Sunday against 22nd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the first round of the Australian Open, in which Murray is a five-time runner-up.
   Bautista Agut won his ninth career ATP title last week in Doha, stunning top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
   Murray went 10-0 in the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose, winning the title in 2006 at 18 years old and the following year. He also won the Challenger in Aptos, a 45-minute drive south of San Jose, in 2005 at 18.
   Brad Gilbert, a lifelong San Francisco Bay area resident, coached Murray for 16 months in 2006 and 2007.
   Australian Open draw -- No. 16 seed Serena Williams, who has a residence in Silicon Valley, could face top-ranked Simona Halep or Venus Williams in the fourth round.
   Serena, who hopes to tie Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, also could meet Naomi Osaka in the semifinals in a rematch of the controversial 2018 U.S. Open final, won by the then-20-year-old Japanese upstart.
   In the other half of the women's draw, No. 5 seed and Fresno product Sloane Stephens could play No. 2 seed and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals.
   Three men with Northern California connections are unseeded.
   Sam Querrey, a 31-year-old San Francisco native, will meet Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France in the first round. The winner will play either No. 24 seed and 2018 semifinalist Hyeon Chung of South Korea or left-hander Bradley Klahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate.
   Mackenzie McDonald, a 23-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, will play Andrey Rublev, a promising 21-year-old Russian rebounding from a stress fracture in his lower back.
   Australian Open qualifying -- No. 3 seed Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland defeated ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 7-6 (3) to earn a main-draw berth.
   Gibbs led 3-0 (two service breaks) in the second set and served for the set at 6-5. She reached the second round or better in the Australian Open main draw for the last four years, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams in the third round in 2017.

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