Andy Murray still looking towards Wimbledon: ‘I’m hoping I’ll be there’
Andy Murray is still hoping to be fit for Wimbledon following his spell out of action with a hip injury
As World Environment Day got underway on 5 June, Andy Murray joined forces with sponsor, Jaguar Cars, to launch the manufacturer’s new electric car, the I-PACE.
Taking the car for a test drive, he revealed that he was keen to ‘go electric’ in support of the environment:
“Anything I can do to raise awareness for subjects that are important to me, I try to use my platform, and hopefully going electric with my car will do that.”
But of more moment during the event were Murray’s words about his anticipated return to competition. The Briton has not played a tour match in almost a year, drawing a line under his season at Wimbledon last year, where he was defending champion and world No1.
Murray had been carrying a hip injury since the clay swing, and by the time he hit the grass of Queen’s and Wimbledon, he had a significant limp, and lost in the first round of the former and the quarters of the latter.
The only complete match he has played in the interim was at his fundraising “Andy Murray Live” event in Glasgow, where he was beaten by Roger Federer.
He played a set at an exho event in Abu Dhabi in December, but then a few days after withdrawing from his first scheduled tournament in Brisbane and then from the Australian Open itself, Murray announced on his Facebook page that he had undergone hip surgery.
The announcement was accompanied by the statement:
“I look forward to returning to competitive tennis during the grass court season.”
He subsequently signed up to one of the first grass tournaments of the year, the Libema Open in Rosmalen, the Netherlands, and to Queen’s, where he became the first player to win five titles in 2016.
Yet after so long away, Murray has cast some doubt over whether he will be fully fit for the Rosmalen event, which begins in less than a week’s time. In an interview with Jaguar reported by The Guardian, he said:
“It’s been very slow. I’ve been out for getting close to a year now, which is a lot longer than I think me or my team expected in the beginning.
“But I’m getting closer to playing again. I’ve started training a few days ago, and hoping to make my comeback during the grass court season.”
Referring to Wimbledon, he went on:
“I’m hoping I’ll be there, but Roger Federer obviously has got a phenomenal record on grass, he’s won I think seven times at Wimbledon, so he’ll definitely be up there as one of the favourites. But you never know. It depends a little bit on the draw.”
Wherever and whenever he makes it back, Murray will be unseeded for the first time since 2006. The 31-year-old three-time Major and two-time Olympic champion will drop to around 157 in the ranks after the French Open.
His cautious words have been echoed by his mother, Judy, in an interview for BBC Sport:
“He is not a stranger to rehabilitation and this one has taken longer than anyone probably expected and certainly longer than he would have liked… It has been incredibly frustrating for him and his team and you have to develop resilience. Fortunately, he is very resilient, always working really hard and doing what he has to do.”
She referred to a previous bout of surgery to his back in 2013 after he won his first Wimbledon title.
“He will be guided by his body and how he feels. He is the only person who knows how he feels. The most important thing is he gets fit again for the long term and any top athlete would tell you they would not come back until they felt they could give 100 percent, especially in a Major like Wimbledon.”
It is a waiting game, then, for his fans and for the Dutch tournament. One thing is for sure: He will not return unless he is certain of his fitness. He said after the Australian Open:
“I want to come back when I’m fit and ready to play, not to get into a situation like in Brisbane or New York, where I’m unsure when I turn up at a tournament how fit I am. I want to know when I come back that I’m ready.”
NB Murray has now confirmed that he will not play in Rosmalen. In a statement on the tournament’s website, he said: “It is with regret that I won’t be ready to play in Hertogenbosch. I was excited to play there for the first time, but I am not quite ready to return. I am still aiming to play in the coming weeks, but I want to be 100% when I do return.”