Copy of 556624-01-02-1719912874647
Britain's Andy Murray warms up during a training session ahead of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 30. Image Credit: AFP

London: Two-time champion Andy Murray called time on his Wimbledon singles career on Tuesday after the "extremely disappointed" former world number one lost his battle to recover from back surgery.

However, the 37-year-old, who plans to retire after the Paris Olympics, will still experience an emotional farewell to the All England Club when he plays doubles with brother Jamie later in the tournament.

Murray underwent surgery to remove a cyst from his back last month, a procedure he described as "not insignificant".

The operation left him without full feeling in his right leg and placed in peril his final appearance at the tournament.

As a result Murray doubted if he would recover in time to face Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic in his scheduled first-round clash on Centre Court on Tuesday.

"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," said a statement from Murray's representatives.

"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."

Murray famously ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's champion at Wimbledon when he triumphed in 2013.

He added a second title in 2016, taking his career majors total to three after breaking his duck at the 2012 US Open.

That win in New York came just weeks after he had lost his first Wimbledon final to Roger Federer.

'Great guy'

Murray, who has never been defeated in the first round at Wimbledon, has not progressed past the quarter-finals since his 2016 triumph.

The physical stress of 20 years on the tour has taken its toll.

He missed the 2018 tournament with injury and 12 months later sat out the singles after undergoing hip surgery.

That year, he played men's doubles with Pierre-Hugues Herbert and mixed doubles with Serena Williams.

Murray has competed with a metal hip since 2019 while this season he damaged ankle ligaments in Miami when he went down to defeat to Machac.

The Scot made his Wimbledon debut in 2005, reaching the third round, where he took a two-set lead before losing in five to 2002 runner-up David Nalbandian.

Fellow three-time Grand Slam title winner Stan Wawrinka hailed Murray as "an amazing champion".

"He pushed everybody. He won everything in the sport that you can win. He's been No. 1. He's been an example for many players," said the 39-year-old Swiss, who has faced the Briton 23 times since their first clash in 2005.

"He's a great guy. We're good friends. We spent so many times together. On the court, in practice court, we practise tons of times together. We always had a good relationship."

Murray fans had been desperate to see their hero make his Wimbledon farewell.

"He feels like one of our own," said 40-year-old Lorna Kennedy, who had travelled down to London from Dundee in Scotland.

"He's done so well and he's just been so good for the sport."

Murray was replaced in the draw on Monday by Belgium's David Goffin, a lucky loser from qualifying.