Is it Andy Murray’s Turn to Make a Sensational Comeback?
Fighter that he is, we can be sure he won’t throw in the towel
Sir Andrew Barron Murray – prodigal son of Great Britain. He did what no other Brit for many decades could do, winning multiple Grand Slam titles and becoming world number one in the singles game. Now, however, he stares down the barrel of a gun, ranked as low as 262 in the world, and still fighting to recover from the hip surgery he underwent a year ago.
After ending his season with a defeat at the China Open this year, Murray will return to the court at the Brisbane Open in the first week of January, before going on to play the Australian Open.
For a star player like Murray to watch his compatriots battle it out on court and win titles must be an extremely hard time. The last two years have been anything but forgiving for the Scot.
After realising his dream of becoming No. 1 in 2016, Murray had a burnout. The overwhelming amount of tennis he had played at a stretch took a massive toll on his body and affected certain areas. This is quite common for a tennis player and we have seen it happen to numerous players over the years.
It was not late into 2017 when we learned about Murray's hip injury. 2017 was one of his most forgettable seasons, not counting this year of course. After being one of the favourites at the Australian Open, he was upset by Mischa Zverev. He fell to Stan Wawrinka in the semis of the French Open and to Sam Querrey at the Wimbledon quarter-finals. He did not win a singles Masters title as well during this period.
Unable to compete at all after Wimbledon, Murray opened up his injury and decided to take time off from the sport. However no one (including him, probably) thought it would take this long to make a comeback.
His injury is one of the toughest to recover from. Sue Barker, former French Open Champion, put it perfectly, when asked about Murray’s recovery. “The key is twisting and turning that hip”, said Barker to The Tennis Podcast during the ATP Finals in London. “As long as it stays strong, I think he will be back.”
Barker mentioned Novak Djokovic’s return to form, “once he believed in himself again”. Murray too will need mental fortitude and self-belief, but he also needs to be a hundred perfect fit in order to even think about getting back to his best.
There were glimpses of this in 2018, when he first made a comeback in the grass season. He played his first match at Queens Club and ended up losing to close friend Nick Kyrgios. He followed this up with a win over fellow comeback-man Stan Wawrinka at Eastbourne, before losing in the second round.
He went on to skip Wimbledon and play the Citi Open in Washington a month later. Up against Marius Copil in the third round, playing for a spot in the quarters, Murray fought a three hour battle to come out on top. After the victory, he broke down while sitting on his chair.
It was this moment that the fans could see how much the sport meant to him and how desperate he was to compete in a fighting capacity once again. Unfortunately for him, he had to pull out of his quarter-final encounter as he felt was not fully fit yet.
Early this year, Murray posted a picture of himself as a kid online, saying “I choose this pic as the little kid inside me just wants to play tennis and compete. I genuinely miss it so much and I would give anything to be back out there."
His dedication and love for the sport were on show this year whenever he took the court. Come 2019, we can expect him to come out all guns blazing.
Roger Federer made a sensational return to the field after being out for six months in 2016. He went on to win 3 Grand Slams and had one of the best years of his life in 2017. Similarly, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic too had slumps over the past couple of years, and both made sensational returns to the sport, with Nadal winning 3 Slams and Djokovic winning 2 so far.
However, none of the three suffered an injury so serious as Murray's. To make a comeback in the same way as the "Big 3" will be a monumental task for Murray. Nonetheless, fighter that he is, we can be sure he won’t throw in the towel.
Tennis has thrown up many surprises in the past. We might just see Andy Murray get his hands on his first ever Australian Open trophy come January.