Scotland's Andy Murray to make long-awaited return to competitive tennis
Andy Murray will be back on a tennis court in 13 days’ time for a competitive match.
It was revealed yesterday that he had entered the doubles at the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club with Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.
That means the Scot will be playing again just four and a half months after surgery to “resurface” his right hip.
Murray said: “I am really excited to return to the match court for the first time since my surgery.
“Queen’s has always been a special place for me and it’s the perfect place to return.
“It’s where I won my first ATP match, my first title in Britain and on grass, and it’s been my most successful tournament overall.
“I’m not yet ready to return to the singles court, but I’ve been pain-free for a few months now. I’ve made good progress in training and on the practice court, and this is the next step for me as I try to return to the tour.”
When he hobbled out of the Australian Open, beaten in the first round at the start of the year, the chances of his ever coming back seemed slim and yet Murray never gave up hope of a return.
His role model was Bob Bryan, the American former No 1 doubles specialist, who also had hip resurfacing surgery.
Bryan was back competing at grand slam level after five months and, seven months into his comeback, he was back winning titles with his twin brother Mike.
The resurfacing operation differs from a total hip replacement in that instead of removing the whole of the top of the femur and replacing it with a metal ball joint, the surgeon shaves down the top of the bone, fits a metal cap over it and places a metal cup in the socket part of the joint.
Double Wimbledon single champion Murray had the op at the end of January and the information from his camp since has been limited but cautiously optimistic. Murray, who also won the US Open in 2012, had the primary aim of curing the constant – and at times excruciating – pain in his hip. The procedure certainly did that but then, at the end of March, the 32 year old was seen hitting gently against a practice wall at the Oxshott Sports Club.
Suddenly a comeback was looking more of a possibility than a dream and he posted a video on Instagram on Saturday of him hitting a serve on a grass court, boosting hopes that he would soon be seen back on the circuit.
The Scot had been dealing with the deteriorating hip problem for several years but, it was during the French Open semi-final in 2017, that the injury went from manageable to unbearable.
He reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon that year as defending champion but was knocked out by Sam Querrey of the USA in five sets.
He took six months off after that in the hope that rest and rehab would cure the problem but, by January 2018, was forced to resort to minor surgery. When that did not work either, it looked as if his career was over. However, the latest op has changed all that.