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John McEnroe says Andy Murray could be back in the top ten within six months

Leye Aduloju in News 6 Dec 2018
  • Andy Murray could be back in the top ten within six months, according to John McEnroe
  • World No. 259, Murray has been struggling with a hip problem for the best part of the last 18 months
John McEnroe believes Andy Murray can rediscover his best form. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Seven-time Grand Slam champion, John McEnroe believes Andy Murray can return to the top ten within six to nine months if the Scot can gain full recovery from his recent injury problems.

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Former world No. 1, Murray has been struggling with a hip injury for the best part of the last year and a half.

Murray underwent hip surgery in January, having missed the latter half of 2017, and didn’t return to action until June, when he featured at the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s. The 31-year-old played just six tournaments in 2018, with his best result being quarter-finals in Washington and Shenzhen. He missed three of the year’s four majors, including Wimbledon. His only Grand Slam appearance was at the US Open, where he was beaten by Fernando Verdasco in the second round. The three-time major champion ended his season after defeat to Fernando Verdasco in Shenzhen, citing an ankle injury.

Murray had fallen outside the top 800 during his time off the sport, but the Scot is currently ranked 259th in the world. Despite his lowly rankings and recent struggles, McEnroe believes Murray has still got the ability to return to the top echelon of the men’s game.

'He was able to be one of the best players of the last 10 years and winning majors by his athletic ability,' said McEnroe.  'If he's at 100 per cent or close to it I would expect he would be in the top 10 within six to nine months. But if he's at 80 per cent, that's a totally different person”.

The American’s claims are by no means improbable, as Murray has no points to defend in the first six months of 2019, and virtually nothing to defend for the entire year. He can therefore rise up the rankings very quickly if he produces a good run of results.

McEnroe is backing Murray to emulate the other members of ‘Big 4’, who have all recovered from lengthy injury lay-offs to dominate the sport at different points within the last two years. 

Roger Federer missed the second half of 2016 due to a knee injury, but the great Swiss has claimed three Grand Slam titles since his return to the sport. Nadal has also won three major titles since the start of 2017, having ended his 2016 season early, while Novak Djokovic launched a sensational resurgence in the second half of 2018, rising from outside the top 20 to saunter to the year-end No. 1 ranking. The Serbian had missed the second half of 2017, and undergone elbow surgery in January 2018, but he recovered superbly in the second half of the year, winning Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open.

'Looking at what Federer did at 36, looking at Nadal. Djokovic suddenly was the old Djokovic this year, so I'm sure he looks at those guys and thinks: 'I should be able to do something akin to that'.', McEnroe said of Murray.

The Scot is scheduled to return to the sport at the Brisbane International in the first week in January, and has entered the Australian Open using his protecting ranking of No. 2.

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John McEnroe says Andy Murray could be back in the top ten within six months

American great, John McEnroe expects Andy Murray to be back in the top ten in the next six to nine months- if he regains full fitness.

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