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‘Andy Murray has earned the right to do whatever he wants’, says former world No 4

Former world No 4 James Blake believes Andy Murray has “earned the right to do whatever he wants to do” for the remainder of his career.

The three-time major quarter-finalist urged the former world No 1 to keep playing for “as long as he can” and if he is still enjoying it.

Murray earned wins over Lorenzo Sonego and Max Purcell at last weeks’ ATP Masters 1000 event in Toronto to reach the last 16. The 36-year-old was then forced to withdraw ahead of his clash with eventual champion Jannik Sinner due to an abdominal injury.

The issue has also caused him to pull out of this week’s Cincinnati Masters, raising doubts over his fitness ahead of the upcoming 2023 US Open.

The Brit’s current world ranking of No 36 is his highest spot since undergoing two hip surgeries.

Blake, who won one of his three career encounters with Murray, highlighted the three-time Grand Slam champion’s love for tennis as the reason he continues to compete.

“He’s earned the right to do whatever he wants to do,” said the American in an interview with Sky Sports.

“He’s such a great champion and the fact that he was always one of the hardest workers now coming back with a metal hip and still working as hard as he does and showing that he loves it, because he has no reason to, he’s already a first ballot hall of famer and one of the all time greats.

“He probably has more money than he ever could spend in five lifetimes. He’s doing it because he loves the game so as long as he loves it, do what you love. You only have so long to do what you love and get paid for it and have fans while you’re doing it.

“So if he wants to continue enjoying it, go as long as he can and then enjoy the rest of your life. Our life is long after tennis too, which a lot of people don’t realise when you’re in that bubble of the world of tennis.”

The 10-time ATP titlist also discussed the different ways players can approach retirement from the sport.

“The one thing that I love about our sport is there’s no path to get there. It’s a bunch of individuals. My path to get there was different than Andy Roddick’s path, different than Mardy Fish, different than everyone else’s,” explained Blake.

“It’s also the path on the exit. If you want to have fanfare and you want to have a two-year historic celebration, go for it. If you want to finish your last match walk up to the net and say I’m done, ride off into the sunset, that’s for you to decide.

“Andre [Agassi] had his speech at the Open. It was announced and everyone just knew that. Pete [Sampras] just kind of walked away and then had a celebration the next year. Both of them I think are happy in their post tennis life, so there’s no way one way to say okay this is the best way to do it.

“It’s the best way for you and whatever that is for Andy, I trust that he’ll make the decision with his family. He’s such a smart guy, he’s one of the nicest guys off the court. I know that’s sometimes hard to believe for people who watch him on the court. He’s the funniest most laidback guy off the court and also the most thoughtful.

“I think he’ll have plenty of time to think about it and talk with his wife and maybe by the time the kids are old enough they might make the decision too, by the time they’re teenagers. Because it seems like he’s not stopping any time soon.”


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