With fresh questions raised over his health, is time now running out for Andy Murray to make his return?
Another day, one other query raised over the bodily well-being of Andy Murray. Having initially set his sights on a return to motion on the Brisbane Open on 1 January, the previous World No 1’s participation within the occasion now seems unsure.
Murray and his staff had initially supposed to journey to Australia in good time earlier than Christmas to acclimatise to the nation’s demanding circumstances and, in doing so, bolster his possibilities of competing on the Australian Open.
“My plan is to do a couple of weeks in Miami and then go to Australia very early, much earlier than I have done in the past,” he stated six weeks in the past. “If I can go there a little bit earlier to get used to the conditions, a bit sooner than some of the other players, that might help level it up a little bit for me.” But such plans have failed to materialise, with the Scot understood to nonetheless be within the UK after returning to London from Miami final week.
The crux of his struggles, a persistent hip harm that has plagued him for quite a lot of years now, is clearly taking its toll on a participant battling to maintain the results of Father Time at bay. Indeed, the 30-year-old’s low season preparations had been removed from plain-sailing due to the discomfort he is nonetheless experiencing in his proper hip. In all, it’s stated the journey to southern Florida was not thought of a lot of a hit.
The full extent of Murray’s harm woes had been laid naked to the general public at Wimbledon earlier this yr the place, after the fantastic highs of 2016, he toiled his means to the final 4 earlier than being knocked out by America’s Sam Querry. His subsequent makes an attempt to compete on the US Open, the ultimate grand slam of the yr, had been misjudged – one thing he later went on to admit.
Since then, Murray has stored a low profile. A singular on-court look got here at an exhibition match towards Roger Federer in Glasgow the place the participant’s legion of followers could have seemed for some faint indicators of progress. Although he appeared more and more cell because the match progressed, there was little doubt that the British No 1, who carried a limp on the occasion, was removed from full health.
A notoriously resilient particular person, the 30-year-old’s propensity for preventing to the bitter finish means he stays totally dedicated to his restoration programme. After all, this is a participant who overcame spinal surgical procedure to win the Davis Cup, an Olympic gold medal and a second Wimbledon title. But, having suffered what seems to be one more setback, it’s unclear what number of of his 9 lives he has left.
Surgery may possibly supply a late, and temporary, second chew of the cherry however the Briton as a substitute prefers the route of rehabilitation. Depending on how his spell in Australia pans out, surgical procedure is an possibility he may but contemplate as he makes an attempt to revitalise his profession in the way in which each Rafa Nadal and Federer did throughout the 2017 season.
Murray seems fastened on making his return Down Under however, in mild of latest developments, is it the best choice? Should the participant be unable to compete at Brisbane, he has the choice of the Sydney International which kicks off every week later. The Australian Open, which begins on the 15th, is after all the principle goal however can Murray afford to enter into such a event having not competed since mid-July of this yr? To accomplish that can be dangerous, and even reckless, given every part at stake with an already bodily fragile participant.
Federer, a person who is aware of a factor or two about defying the chances, has urged Murray to be affected person. “Take your time, however long it takes,” he stated in Glasgow final month. Further delaying his return might be the reply, no matter how disheartening it could be. Federer and Nadal bear testomony to the previous adage that claims time is one of the best treatment.
But there’s equally a way time might be running out for Britain’s most profitable male participant. Many will really feel he has already handed his greatest and is now fruitlessly making an attempt to wind again the clock. Whatever choice Murray makes, it’s doubtless to form the remainder of his profession – nevertheless lengthy which will now final.