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Hug from mum helps ease the pain as Murray says his tennis end game near

By Staff Reporters

Sir Andy Murray received a cuddle from his mother after a "tough day" in which he announced he will retire this year.

The three-time Grand Slam winner fought back tears in Melbourne as he announced the upcoming Australian Open could be his last tournament as he struggles to recover from hip surgery.

Tributes poured in as his legions of fans digested the announcement - including from fellow sports stars, politicians and residents in the Scottish town where he grew up.

Hours later the tennis star responded with a post on Instagram showing him embracing his mother Judy.

He wrote: "Best way to feel better after a tough day is a big cuddle from your mum.

"Genuinely been very touched by all of the messages and support from everybody today ... It means a lot and has made me feel much more positive than when I woke this morning. Thank you so much."

The former world number one has battled to recover from a chronic hip condition for more than 18 months, undergoing surgery in Melbourne a year ago, but he was forced to admit in a tearful Press conference (right) that his efforts have not been enough.

He said: "Obviously I've been struggling for a long time. I've been in a lot of pain for about 20 months now.

"I've pretty much done everything that I could to try and get my hip feeling better and it hasn't helped loads. I'm in a better place than I was six months ago but still in a lot of pain. It's been tough."

The Scot said he hopes to make Wimbledon in the summer, although he could not confirm that would be the case.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led praise from near and far after watching his announcement, tweeting: "Andy Murray is a legend - without doubt one of Scotland's greatest ever sportsmen, as well as an outstanding role model and inspiration for young people everywhere.

British tennis player Kyle Edmund said: "For me he's been my biggest role model out of any tennis player. He's Britain's greatest tennis player ever and you could say maybe Britain's best sportsman ever."

Billie Jean King added her tribute, writing on Twitter: "You are a champion on and off the court."

For more, see Review, pages 22-23, and Sport, pages 50-51

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