Andy Murray is hopeful for a return to singles competition by the end of 2019.
This past January, Murraydue to persistent right hip issues (mainly, damaged hip cartilage) that had plagued him since 2017. In March, Murray and said he was feeling better than he has in years.
At the time, Murray was unsure if he would play tennis again, but now, four months after undergoing the surgery, Murray is set to make his return to the professional circuit with doubles appearances in the Fever-Tree Championships (June 17-23, grass court) at Queen’s Club, alongside Spain’s Feliciano Lopez. If all goes well, Murray is also planning to play doubles at Wimbledon early next month. The last Grand Slam of the 2019 season is the US Open, set to take place Aug. 26 through Sept. 8.
No player has ever resumed a singles career after the hip operation Murray underwent, although American doubles player Bob Bryan returned five months after the surgery in 2018. Bryan actually recommended Murray undergo the procedure, not because it would guarantee a comeback, but because it would improve his quality of life. Murray recently said that the surgery has helped him di everyday things, like playing golf and walking his dogs.
Here’s what Murray said in a statement, as reported by The Telegraph:
“I am really excited to return to the match court for the first time since my surgery. Queen’s has always been a special place for me and it’s the perfect place to return. It’s where I won my first ATP match, my first title in Britain and on grass, and it’s been my most successful tournament overall. I’m not yet ready to return to the singles court, but I’ve been pain-free for a few months now. I’ve made good progress in training and on the practice court, and this is the next step for me as I try to return to the tour.”
Murray, 32, missed the first six months and last three months of 2018 because of the hip injury. He has not played since his defeat to Roberto Bautista Agut in five sets at the 2019 Australian Open. Bautista Agut held off an incredible comeback from Murray and won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2 in a match that lasted more than four hours.
“It’s baby steps just now,” Murray told reporters of his return back to tennis. “I’m feeling good, pretty much pain free and enjoying training, practicing, improving all the time just now. I don’t think when Wimbledon finishes that I will just step on to the singles court the following week and everything’s good. I still have quite a lot of work to do before I’m at a level where I feel like I’ll be able to be competitive.”
On the singles circuit, Murray has won Wimbledon twice (2013, 2016), and the US Open once (2012). When Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets for the 2013 Wimbledon title, he became the first British man to win the singles title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936. Despite playing in the same era as all-time tennis greats Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic, Murray kept up with tennis’ big three, finishing as a runner-up in five Australian Opens (2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016) and once in the French Open (2016).
Murray also is the men’s singles 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist, making him the only tennis player, male or female, to have won two Olympic singles titles.