In an emotionally-charged press conference ahead of the first Grand Slam event of the year in Melbourne, Murray revealed that he was still troubled by the hip injury that has plagued him for the last 18 months.
The British champ announced that he plans to retire this year, saying he'd like to play through Wimbledon in July but may not be able to make it that far.
"I spoke to my team and I told that I can't keep doing this, that I needed to have an end point because (I was) sort of playing with no idea when the pain was going to stop", he told the news conference Friday.
He said: "Obviously I have been struggling a long time and I have been in pain for about twenty months now". It's not something I want, I don't want to continue playing that way. Getting through the first round will be a major achievement in 2019 for the former No. 1-ranked Murray, who has slumped to No. 230 after playing just 12 matches a year ago following surgery on his right hip in January.
Murray will play 22nd seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round on Monday.
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Claiming Olympic gold in 2012 at Wimbledon freed up Murray, paving the way for his maiden grand slam success at the US Open a month later - the Serb again on the other side of the net - after losing all four of his previous finals.
There were no shocks with the announcements of the top seeds for the men's and women's singles tournaments at the Australian Open, with top-ranked Djokovic and Halep heading the seeds in their respective tournaments.
Murray said he had an option of another operation on his troublesome hip, but it was more about his quality of life after hanging up his racquet. "But having the limitations and the pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing or training", the emotional Scot said in Melbourne, breaking down in tears. "I tried pretty much everything that I could to get it right - that hasn't worked". "I said to my team "I think I can get through to Wimbledon". that's where I would like to stop - stop playing".
Murray said he was mulling another round of major hip surgery but added that it was more aimed at improving his "quality of life" and it might not mean an eventual return to the tour. "That's something that I'm seriously considering right now".
Murray says he can't endure the pain anymore. "I hope he can finish strong and healthy", he said. "There are little things, day to day, that are also a struggle. That's the main reason for doing it".