STARNBERG, April 27, 2018
There are few more trying experiences in life for a sportsman than being sidelined by injury. It is a glimpse into what life would be like without the superhuman powers they possess as they have to watch the action unfold from the comfort of a TV at home.
Very often the rehabilitation from injury requires sportsmen to be completely inactive, which makes the process all the more painful. Andy Murray is learning all about that at the moment as he makes his way back from the longest injury layoff in his career, which he describes as being harder than ever.
The Scotsman has been fighting a hip injury that has ruled him out of competitive action since Wimbledon 2017. By Murray’s own admission, this has been a complex injury that hasn’t let him enjoy a straightforward recovery. “This time’s been a lot harder – there’s been a lot more ups and down this time, it’s been longer and a lot more complex than the back issue,” Murray was quoted as saying. It’s clear to see that the 30-year-old now has a lot more gratitude for the clean bill of health he has enjoyed throughout the majority of his career.
It’s the pressure that Murray misses the most – something he says “you don’t get in day-to-day life” – as he refers to the change of pace rehabilitation has given him. Murray was meant to make a return to competitive action in late April but pulled out of the Glasgow ATP Challenger Event as he didn’t feel his body was quite up to the demands of professional tennis just yet.
The next tournament on his schedule is the Libéma Open in May, but it’s anybody’s guess if he will be fully fit by then. What seems a certainty is that Murray will be ready to go by the time Wimbledon comes around. It’s unlikely that he will be able to make it three Wimbledon titles and his 6/1 online betting odds suggest it will be a bridge too far at this stage. The incredible support he receives every time he gets to SW19 will spur him on late into the tournament, but after almost a year out and only a month’s preparation before it gets underway has surely put paid to his chances.
Whatever happens on the grass courts of Wimbledon, Murray will take in his stride. That’s one of the few benefits you get when sitting out for as long as he has. Just being back and playing at the top level again will be enough for Murray for now and he says as much himself: “I certainly never anticipated anything like this so I certainly won’t take anything for granted when I come back.”
The lack of expectation may even work in his favour, with the pressure being off as he flies under the radar. Murray’s fans will be heartened to see that he has adopted the attitude of ‘these things are sent to try us’ and it won’t be long now until we see the Scot in action again.