THE news of Andy Murray's forced retirement will disappoint many British sports fans.

The news came as a shock on Friday after announcing that the Australian Open could be his last appearance in a major tournament.

The three-time Grand Slam champion broke down in tears revealing he was still troubled by the hip injury that has plagued him for the last 18 months.

And the 31-year-old, who clearly could not move properly, managed to deny logic as he came back from two sets down and nearly claim an unlikely victory against Spanish opponent Roberto Bautista Agut.

Straight after the announcement talk moved on to whether Murray is Britain's greatest ever sportsman. As a keen tennis fan I have followed his career avidly, and I would say he would have a decent argument.

He was part of a British resurgence in sport including being part of that memorable weekend at London 2012, where his gold medal came hours after Super Saturday.

Growing up I also wondered if I would ever see a British man win Wimbledon and in an era when the arguable some of the greatest players have ever played in Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, Murray was always going to find it tough.

But he managed it, beating Djokovic in a classic final, and even later won a second tournament at the All England Club.

The greatest ever sportsman is an academic debate, which in reality attracts opinions but never much agreement.

How can you compare a tennis player to a footballer, runner, rower, rugby player, boxer or racing driver? All are different sports, requiring different qualities. And what about different eras, surely to compete in the modern era is tougher in any sport.

But reading some of the negativity surrounding Murray has been ridiculous. I can only assume its because the sport is not universally popular, and the Scot never overcame jokes about supporting 'anybody but England' with some. Despite national tabloid negativity, Murray showed he did care about representing Britain as he led the country to the first Davis Cup win in 1936. And the 'dour Scot' unfair portrayal never stopped him winning Sports Personality three times.

Murray should be respected and does deserve to be considered among Britain's sporting greats.