Eastbourne’s Johanna Konta led the tributes to a role model who “stood up for women’s tennis and women in general” after Andy Murray announced his intention to retire.
At a tearful press conference ahead of the Australian Open, the Scot laid bare the effects of the pain in his right hip that has dogged him for more than 18 months.
Murray is hoping to able to go out on home soil at Wimbledon in the summer but conceded Monday’s match against Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round in Melbourne could be his last.
“I can’t imagine the sport without him to be honest,” said Konta. “He has just been there all the time.”
Murray’s support for women and the women’s game was also appreciated by British No 1 Konta, who 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.
“He has also been blessed with two daughters and I think he’s grown up with a really strong female role model with his mum and now his wife is also a strong character so he is surrounded by great, strong women.
“He has put that through in the way he has voiced his opinions and the way he has tackled some questions and issues that have arisen and I think everybody has always been very appreciative of him.”
Konta begins her Australian Open campaign on Tuesday against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, who she lost to in Brisbane last week.
Konta is in a loaded top quarter of the draw that also includes world number one Simona Halep, who faces a rematch with her US Open conqueror Kaia Kanepi, and Serena and Venus Williams.