Andy Murray is plotting a return to singles competition. This development comes less than a year after he announced plans to retire in a tearful press conference prior to the Australian Open.
The former world number 1 cited unbearable hip pain as the reason for his decision. “The pain is too much, really,” Murray stated in the press conference, “It’s not something I want. I don’t want to continue playing that way. I’ve tried pretty much everything that I could to get it right, and that hasn’t worked.”
Yet, this wasn’t the end that Murray predicted. The Telegraph reports that Murray underwent resurfacing surgery in January, where a metal cap was placed at the top of Murray’s femur.
Murray took this option upon the recommendation of doubles specialist Bob Bryan, who underwent the same procedure in August last year. He was
back to doubles action five months later.
The 32-year-old Murray was optimistic that this procedure would ease the pain, and improve his quality of life, but he remained unconvinced that he would play competitive tennis again. “If I don’t recover well from it, then I don’t play again.” Bryan thought otherwise. “There’s no evidence that it’s possible [to return to competition] in tennis,” Bryan noted.
“I mean, so much wear and tear. But I think he could do it. I personally don’t underestimate Andy Murray. You look at the great workers in history: [Ivan] Lendl, [Jim] Courier, [Andy] Roddick. This guy is maybe even a step up.”
That work ethic described by Bryan has been a Murray trademark. For all his talent, it was his indomitable will that truly made the Scot one of the sport’s most successful ever players. Murray is ranked fifth in Coral’s list of the highest paid tennis players due to his three Grand Slam victories — one in the U.S Open and two in Wimbledon. This is despite facing numerous injuries throughout his career, including back surgery in 2016 (the year he won his second Wimbledon title). And this willpower is back on show once more.
Since the hip surgery Murray has been on the road for a singles return. This started at Queens where he won the doubles tournament with Feliciano López, and then at Wimbledon where he teamed up with fellow tennis
great Serena Williams for the mixed doubles. The two won their first two matches, before losing to top seeds Bruno Soares and Nicole Melichar in round 3 (6-3, 4-6, 6-2).
Murray has no doubt come a long way since that emotional press conference in Melbourne Park. He is in much better shape and he looks all but set to give singles competition another go. In fact, the three-time Grand Slam winner is aiming to play singles at the Cincinnati Masters this August. But that comeback will depend on Murray’s conditioning. He admitted that his “cardio isn’t great,” but that he is happy in terms of how he is “moving and feeling and pulling up the next day from these practices.”
Given Murray’s legendary work ethic, getting that conditioning back should be easy for the former number 1. What is important now is that he is finally pain free.