Have we seen the last of Andy Murray on a tennis court?
The past two years have been anything but straightforward for Andy Murray. He has been battling a serious hip issue, which saw him undergo a hip resurfacing procedure after the Australian Open at the end of January. He has previously had surgery on his hip, but extra work was needed to improve his quality of life. In his own words, he mentioned in a separate interview that “the main reason for me having the operation was to not be in pain anymore”.
Andy’s problem goes beyond the tennis court. In his globally broadcasted press conference in Melbourne when he broke down crying, it became clear that the injury had taken its toll on him both mentally and physically. He opened up about some of the struggles that he was facing, which left many people surprised about the extent to which his injury was affecting his day to day life. Playing with his children and going on walks had all become more difficult to do because of pain that he was feeling. His off days were spent recovering from tennis matches.
His last match, an epic five set battle against Bautista Agut was thrilling, yet there was an underlying level of sadness around the arena when it finished. All tennis fans knew that this may be his last tennis match ever.
The two questions that face us now are:
1) Can he return to the professional tour?
2) Is he willing to put his health on the line for tennis?
Earlier this month he said that the operation was a success, that he was pain free and that he was enjoying life much more. He is currently trying to fully recover, which will take many months, especially considering that he has not been standing on his full body weight for some time now. Returning in time for Wimbledon is a big ask, but not impossible. Playing some doubles with his brother Jamie is a much more realistic possibility, which he may be able to use as a stepping stone for a way back to the more physically demanding, singles game.
Personally, I believe that we have not seen the last of Andy on a tennis court. I could see him return for a final farewell tour, but a Wimbledon return this year seems highly unlikely. At the end of the day, life after tennis is much more important and the stress on the body that professional tennis brings may be too much for Andy. We won’t know until later whether his body will be up to the task.
Regardless of whether he returns to the tour full time or not, this whole situation has made tennis fans all over the world realize how lucky they are to have witnessed Murray play tennis. He is undoubtedly a great champion and an unbelievable competitor, who has found success in arguably the toughest tennis era ever.