Andy Murray withdraws from Wimbledon singles following back operation

Andy Murray has pulled out of the singles at Wimbledon ahead of his first-round match against Tomas Machac, but the 37-year-old will make a farewell appearance at the Championships alongside his older brother Jamie in the doubles.

Murray underwent an operation on his back last weekend but was determined to give himself every opportunity to appear at the tournament he won twice and delayed his decision until Tuesday morning to fully assess his condition.

"Unfortunately, despite working incredibly hard on his recovery since his operation just over a week ago, Andy has taken the very difficult decision not to play the singles this year," a statement from Murray's team read.

"As you can imagine, he is extremely disappointed but has confirmed that he will be playing in the doubles with Jamie and looks forward to competing at Wimbledon for the last time."

The former World No 1 was handed an opening match against the 23-year-old Czech Machac, ranked 38 in the world, as well as an extra day to recover from surgery on a spinal cyst after landing in the bottom half of the singles draw. But Murray has now pulled out of the tournament and he will instead make his Wimbledon farewell in the doubles competition, where he and older brother Jamie have received a wildcard.

The men’s doubles gets underway later in the week and the Murrays have been drawn to play Australian pair John Peers and Rinky Hijikata in the opening round. The doubles format is not as demanding physically as singles and is best-of-three sets rather than five.

Murray underwent an operation on a spinal cyst after retiring from his second-round match at Queen’s last week, with the 37-year-old unable to move freely due to back and right leg pain.

It was initially reported that Murray had been advised to have a six-week lay-off period and would miss Wimbledon, but an official statement from the 37-year-old’s camp said he had yet to make a decision and was working with his medical team ahead of the Championships.

Murray admitted there were “risks” with returning to the court so soon after surgery but said he wanted to “feel the buzz” of Centre Court and have some “closure” by appearing in the singles format.

Andy Murray has withdrawn from the singles event at Wimbledon (PA Wire)
Andy Murray has withdrawn from the singles event at Wimbledon (PA Wire)
Murray will play doubles with brother Jamie in his final appearance at SW19 (Getty Images)
Murray will play doubles with brother Jamie in his final appearance at SW19 (Getty Images)

But his body has ruled otherwise - Murray has had numerous fitness issues since injuring his back as world No 1 in 2017 and he will now look to bow out from singles at his fifth Olympic Games in Paris at the end of July.

The Scot cemented his Wimbledon legacy in 2013 by becoming the first British man to win the singles title for 77 years, overcoming suffocating pressure to defeat Novak Djokovic in a memorable final.

Despite competing in the era of Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - the three greatest players in the history of the sport - Murray leaves a remarkable trail of success: Murray also won the 2012 US Open, added a second Wimbledon title in 2016, claimed two Olympic gold medals, led Britain to a historic Davis Cup title and reached No 1 in the world rankings.

Murray has been granted a place at the Olympics doubles tournament and will play with Dan Evans in Paris. The two-time Olympic champion also has a spot in the singles tournament.