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Andy Murray has lauded Lionel Messi as an “inspiration” following Argentina’s World Cup victory. The former world No 1 is a self-confessed big fan of the Argentine and explained how watching others’ success motivated him to keep going, though Murray made a strong retirement claim as he confessed that one “big injury” would end everything.
Murray was one of many supporting Messi during the World Cup, and was quick to question whether the PSG star was the best athlete of all time when he helped Argentina to victory on Sunday. The three-time Grand Slam champion has now discussed the 35-year-old’s achievement in depth ahead of this week’s Battle of the Brits tournament, and admitted that as an athlete of the same age, Messi motivated him to keep going in his own career.
“He’s amazing and I was really happy for him that he was able to finally win the World Cup when it was sort of like, he was seen as not having done it at international level, which was strange,” the current world No 49 told reporters in Aberdeen. “He’s 35 and born in the same year as me.
“Any athletes in their mid-to-late thirties going out there and competing and performing and doing what they love is brilliant.” The former world No 1 also said he had been inspired by his fellow players winning big tournaments at a similar age as he added: “I’ve had the opportunity to witness that a bit in tennis, whether that’s Serena or Federer and Nadal and these guys in our own sport.
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“I find that it gives me motivation to keep going and keep trying to go out there and perform as best I can.” While Murray’s statement gave an encouraging hint that he wanted to keep playing and wasn’t thinking about the end of his career, he made a damning confession as he admitted he could be forced to retire if he suffered any more major injury setbacks.
“If my body is in good shape and I’m still able to compete consistently, I’ll keep playing,” Murray said. “But I can’t look so far in advance with the age I’m at and with the issues I’ve had. If I was to have a big injury, I probably wouldn’t try to come back from that.”
But there are no fears over Murray’s body for now, as the 46-time title winner is in Scotland fresh off the back of a training block in Florida. At the end of the 2022 season, he confessed he wasn’t entirely happy with his year despite jumping from No 134 in the rankings into the top 50 and revealed he had been in the gym just twice since the US Open.
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Murray has since rectified his lack of fitness training, explaining: “I spent three weeks in Florida, getting my body right and getting some work done on my game and it went really well. I’m certainly in better shape than I was. A lot of work was done in the gym, trying to build up my endurance and my stamina a bit and I’m hoping that’s going to help me next year.
“I wasn’t happy with how last season went – certainly the last six months or so from a physical perspective – but my ranking still went from 125 to 50 in a year. I’m hoping that this year, with the work I’ve done, things will continue to improve and I’ll still be motivated to get out there and compete.”
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