It feels strange to be saying that Andy Murray is looking to make a sensational return to the top of the summit of world tennis but that is exactly what he is aiming to do. To say that the Scotsman cut a forlorn figure at a press conference at the Australian Open would be grossly downplaying it. The 32-year-old had to leave the room as he made what can only be described as a spur of the moment retirement decision given that he was overcome with emotion.
You sat there saying to yourself, “don’t say it, don’t say it”, but after an excruciating warm-up at the year’s first Grand Slam, the Scotsman could no longer hide his disappointment at the fact he was still being severely hampered by serious injury. Who could blame him as well for bringing the curtain down on his career at a time that seemed a little premature given there wasn’t any guarantee that his hip would get better?
If it was his last hurrah, it was certainly an entertaining one as he crashed out to Bautista Agut in a five-set thriller but there was one last medical avenue Murray hadn’t explored. His last option in the pursuit of making a return was to undergo hip resurfacing surgery in London. Here we are during the month of Wimbledon and Murray seems to be enjoying a new lease of life in the doubles category.
He was initially dumped out the men’s doubles in the first week of the event but he has been doing well alongside Serena Williams in the mixed doubles. Whilst Murray has enjoyed competing in the doubles category throughout his career, this is purely to get him back to some sort of match fitness as he attempts to get back to the top. That’s right, once Murray finishes his rehab, the two-time Wimbledon champion is determined to get back to mixing it with the elite in the men’s game again.
Whether he feels up to playing in the US Open or not remains to be seen but interestingly enough, Murray is at 12/1 in tennis betting to win the men’s category at Flushing Meadows. Read into that what you like but professional sport is full of fairytale comebacks and there is just a feeling that the world is yet to see the last of the superb Scot – which is truly wonderful news.
There are few things as devastating for a sportsman or woman as being stopped in their prime and Murray would have had to dig deep to get through the disappointment of missing out on two years of what should have been the best years of his career. The positive is that Murray is not looking to weep over lost time but make the most of the time he still has left in front of him, now that he says he is pain-free again after so many years of suffering.
Despite enduring a fierce rivalry with the likes of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, Murray will take inspiration from them as they continue to dominate the tour long after their supposed best days were behind them. In a weird way, even though the Big Three have stood in Murray’s way in terms of winning more Grand Slams, it is their presence on the tour now that may play the biggest role in Murray’s recovery and quest to carry on.