Murray has vowed to carry on playing until this summer's Wimbledon as he struggles to deal with the daily pain of a hip injury.
Yet there is a strong chance, should he lose in the first round of the Australian Open to Spaniard Roberto Batiusta Agut, he might call it a day in Melbourne and officially hang up his racquets.
Federer, who is six years older than Murray, saw signs during a charity event in Scotland last November that his body was breaking down.
The Swiss star, who is in the same quarter of the main draw as Murray , said: “His body took the decision unfortunately in this case.
“I think it must have been a very long couple of years for him now.
“I remember when I played with him in Glasgow. I know how not well he was. I couldn’t believe he actually played. But it was for a good cause. He felt like he could do sort of the two-and-a-half sets that we played.
“I guess everybody can understand where he comes from. At some point when you feel like you’re never going to get back to 100%, you've had the success that Andy has had, you can only understand the decision.
“I was disappointed and sad, a little bit shocked, to know now that we’re going to lose him at some point. But we're going to lose everybody at some point. It’s just now that it's definite.
"Of course, I hope that he can play a good Australian Open and he can keep playing beyond that, really finish the way he wants to at Wimbledon. That’s what I hope for him.”
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