MELBOURNE, Australia - Former ATP World No.1 and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray announced earlier today that he will retire from tennis this season due to worsening pain in his right hip.
The Briton, who triumphed at The Championships in 2013 and 2016 as well as the 2012 US Open, has been a vocal supporter of the WTA Tour and its players throughout his career, whether tweeting about the nascent talent of a teenage Caroline Garcia, rhapsodising over Agnieszka Radwanska's crafty game or ensuring that Serena Williams received due recognition for her legendary accomplishments from broadcasters. It's no surprise, then, that past and present WTA stars lined up on social media to pay tribute to a player appropriately dubbed "the realest" by Victoria Azarenka.
Leading compatriots Johanna Konta and Heather Watson also spoke to the press about Murray's impact both as a player and a person. British No.1 Konta said: "There have been so many examples of when he has stood up for us - not just for women's tennis but women in general... Everybody has always been very appreciative of him and how he has stood up for the women’s side of the game."
Konta also discussed how she had been inspired by the 31-year-old as an athlete. "I feel like he really maximised everything that he has and left no stone unturned to bring the best out of himself," she said. "Not many athletes and people can say that they did that in their career and profession... and that's something as an athlete to look up to. It makes me quite emotional because that's a beautiful thing."
British No.2 Watson also pinpointed what an anomaly Murray had been in terms of using his platform to speak up for equality. "Boys are going to fight for boys because that's the field they're in, girls will fight for girls - so to have a guy fighting for women's rights is pretty cool," she said.
"I'm just grateful that I've been able to get to know him, share the court with him in the Hopman Cup a couple of times and at the Olympics. He's an awesome person."