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Andy Murray withdraws from Wimbledon

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LONDON (AP) — Two-time champion Andy Murray pulled out of Wimbledon on Sunday because of a bad hip that has been a problem for about a year and was surgically repaired less than six months ago.

The All England Club announced Murray’s withdrawal a day before the grass-court Grand Slam tournament begins.

“I’ve made significant progress in practice and matches over the last 10 days, but after lengthy discussions with my team and with a heavy heart, we’ve decided that playing best-of-five-set matches might be a bit too soon in the recovery process,” Murray said in a statement released by his manager. “We did everything we could to try to be ready in time.”

Murray’s first-round match against Benoit Paire was scheduled for Tuesday. Murray beat Paire in the fourth round at Wimbledon last year as the defending champion, then lost to Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals, clearly hampered by the hip, and did not play again for the rest of 2017.

The 31-year-old Murray had an operation in January and returned to competition a little less than two weeks ago.

“I will start practicing on the hard courts from tomorrow and continuing with my rehab and recovery and I’m looking forward to the U.S. hard-court season,” Murray’s statement read. “Thanks for all the messages of support, and I’m excited to finally be back playing after so long out.”

In 2013, he became the first British man in 77 years to collect a Wimbledon singles title, and he won the championship again in 2016. He’s reached at least the quarterfinals in each of his past 10 appearances at the All England Club.

Considered a member of the ruling “Big 4” quartet of men’s tennis, along with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Murray also won the 2012 U.S. Open and two Olympic singles gold medals.

But all of his time away meant the former No. 1-ranked Murray has fallen out of the top 150 and he was not seeded at Wimbledon.

At a pre-tournament news conference Saturday, he said he planned to play in the tournament unless, he explained, “I wake up and don’t feel good.”

He added: “There’s certain things that are still tricky and things I’m still trying to work through. These things are significantly better than what they were a few months ago. That’s for sure. But, you know, again, it just takes time.”

The first match of his comeback came at the Queen’s Club grass-court tournament on June 19. Still with a hitch in his gait, Murray played more than 2½ hours before losing to Nick Kyrgios in three sets.

This past week, again on grass, Murray beat fellow three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, before losing to countryman Kyle Edmund.

“I don’t think I played amazing in the matches,” Murray said Saturday, “but I think I’ve done well, considering the opponents.”

There will be no opponents for him next week at a place that has come to define his career. Instead, Murray’s spot in the draw will be taken by Jason Jung of Taiwan, who lost in qualifying.

MORE: Wimbledon draws announced

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Andy Murray, Teddy Riner grapple atop Paris monument

Andy Murray, Teddy Riner
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A battle of Olympic champions took place in a unique setting, atop the Grande Arche de la Defense in central Paris on Wednesday.

British tennis player Andy Murray took up judo for a sponsor event. He did so against the world’s most formidable judoka, Frenchman Teddy Riner.

They faced off nearly 400 feet above the streets below and then posed for photos in front of the Avenue Charles de Gaulle, with the Arc de Triomphe far off in the distance.

Murray is one of the Olympic tennis greats with singles gold medals from 2012 and 2016, plus a mixed doubles silver with Laura Robson in 2012.

Riner is more dominant. He, too, took gold in 2012 and 2016. The 6-foot-8, 290-pound native of Guadeloupe hasn’t lost anywhere since 2010, racking up some 100 straight match wins.

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MORE: Serena Williams comments on 2020 Olympics during pregnancy

@AndyMurray & @TeddyRiner held their ground on top of La Défense, Paris. #IWILL

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British Olympic legends receive knighthoods, damehoods

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LONDON (AP) — Andy Murray received a knighthood in Queen Elizabeth II‘s New Year’s Honors list on Friday, recognition from the monarch for reaching the pinnacle of tennis by winning his second Wimbledon and Olympic titles on his way to topping the rankings.

The 29-year-old Murray was previously named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, in 2012 after becoming Olympic champion for the first time.

Joining Murray in being knighted in British sports is Mo Farah, who retained his Olympic 5000m and 10,000m titles in Rio, becoming the first British track and field athlete to win four Olympic gold medals.

“I’m so happy to be awarded this incredible honor from the country that has been my home since I moved here at the age of eight,” Farah said Friday. “Looking back at the boy who arrived here from Somalia, not speaking any English, I could never have imagined where I would be today — it’s a dream come true.

“I’m so proud to have had the opportunity to race for my country and win gold medals for the British people, who have been my biggest supporters throughout my career.”

Lee Pearson, who won his 11th Paralympic gold in equestrian in Rio, was also knighted. He already held the MBE, OBE and CBE for services to equestrianism and to disabled sport.

Damehoods went to heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill and rower Katherine Grainger, who both retired from competitive action following the Rio Olympics.

Ennis-Hill added silver in Rio to her gold at London, as did Grainger, who came out of retirement to compete in the double sculls alongside Vicky Thornley.

Knights are addressed as “Sir” or “Dame.” Recipients of the other honors have no title, but can put the letters after their names. The ranks for the Orders of the British Empire are Commander, Officer and Member, in descending order.

Britain’s honors are bestowed by the monarch, but recipients are selected by committees of civil servants from nominations made by the government and the public.

MORE: Great Britain’s most decorated Olympian retires