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Andy Murray pain-free after hip resurfacing but tennis future remains in doubt

Hannah Wilks in News 6 Mar 2019
  • Andy Murray revealed he's pain-free after hip resurfacing operation
  • Tennis future remains unclear as former world no. 1 makes sponsor appearance at Queen's Club
  • 'I want to continue playing. The issue is that I don't know whether it's going to be possible.'
Andy Murray (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

Andy Murray is now pain-free after hip surgery but tennis future remains in doubt.

Former world no. 1 Andy Murray made his first public appearance since undergoing hip surgery as he announced his new sponsor partnership with Castore at Queen's Club on Wednesday.

Murray revealed that he is now free of the hip pain that has kept him out of competition for most of the past two years - and made it clear that he wants to extend his tennis career.

What is less clear is whether or not that will be possible.

'I’m a lot happier now than I was, certainly the last 12 months, because I have no pain in my hip now and I was in pain for a long time. The rehab is slow but it’s been going pretty well. I just need to wait and see how things progress. If it’s possible, I’d certainly love to compete again,' Murray said.

Murray watches a tribute video at the Australian Open (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The three-time Grand Slam champion took 11 months off from July 2017 to June 2018 in an attempt to heal the injury to his hip which had been causing him pain for a long time. Murray attempted a comeback in June 2018 at Queen's Club, but only managed to play 12 matches for the remainder of the season as his ranking dropped outside the world's top 800. 

After bringing a premature end to his 2018 season in an attempt to be ready for 2019, Murray admitted in a tearful press conference ahead of the Australian Open that he feared his playing days were over. He had hoped to retire at Wimbledon, but was unsure whether he would be able to limp that far. His only recourse was a hip resurfacing operation. 

Murray took world no. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut to five sets in the first round of the Australian Open, after which the tournament paid tribute to him with a special video featuring heartfelt praise from his peers including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - all of which looks slightly premature now that Murray might have more time left in his career.

The 31-year-old underwent the hip resurfacing procedure, which involves the insertion of a metal ball-and-socket joint at the top of the femur, shortly afterwards and has only rarely been glimpsed since before he faced the press on Wednesday to announce his new partnership with sportswear brand Castore.

And while nobody really knows if it's realistic to expect Murray to be able to compete again, the two-time Wimbledon winner was unequivocal about his desire to do so. 

'I want to continue playing, I said that in Australia. The issue is I don’t know whether it’s possible,' he said.

According to The Telegraph, only a 'handful of athletes' have come back from this type of hip procedure to compete again. The only tennis example is Bob Bryan, one half of legendary American doubles duo the Bryan brothers. Bryan injured his hip at the Madrid Masters in May 2018, underwent surgery in August and returned to competition in January this year. He and brother Mike won their first title since before the injury just a couple of weeks ago at the Delray Beach Open, their 117th ATP Tour-level title.

It's a hopeful story, especially since Bryan is a decade older than Murray, but the physical demands of top-level singles as opposed to doubles are exponentially greater.

Murray also discussed the possibility of other ways of being involved in the sport in future.

'I want to see what it is I want to do when I finish playing,' he said. 'I have other interests as well. 

'If I wanted to go into coaching, commentary, all these sorts of things, I need to decide that more when I finish playing. This is something that, when it was initially discussed, it was quite exciting for me. I certainly would not rule out doing more of it in the future.'

Murray, who has two young daughters, also mentors young British sporting stars.

Queen's Club is the home of the Fever-Tree Championships, which Murray has won a record five times, most recently in 2016. British no. 1 Kyle Edmund and Nick Kyrgios are among the players confirmed to appear at the 2019 edition. 

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Andy Murray pain-free after hip resurfacing but tennis future remains in doubt

Making a sponsor appearance for Castore at Queen's Club, Andy Murray said he was happy to be free of pain after hip resurfacing operation, but the future of his career remains unclear: 'I want to continue playing. The issue is that I don't know whether it's going to be possible.'

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