Pain-free Murray upbeat, eyes Wimbledon doubles

LONDON • Andy Murray has revealed that he is increasingly confident of making a full return to competitive tennis, although initially only in doubles.

Speaking to The Times of London, the 32-year-old said he is now free of pain after hip surgery, and may even seek to return to action at Wimbledon, which starts on July 1, in the men's doubles.

The Scot, however, has all but ruled out an appearance in the singles draw at the All England Club this summer, as he believes it would require a longer period to build up his fitness and strength.

Almost four months after undergoing a resurfacing operation on his right hip, Murray stepped up his training on Monday by hitting with Nick Kyrgios on a green clay court at Wimbledon.

And, after playing golf recently with no issues and gaining encouragement from the return of Bob Bryan, the American doubles player who had the same surgery last August aged 40, he is now more confident of competing on the tour again.

"I don't have pain," he said. "I just need to see how good the hip can get really. I know from seeing what Bob Bryan has done that for doubles it will be absolutely fine.

"I will need to see from there how it would work singles-wise.

REALISTIC PLAN

If I continue to feel good, then I will obviously give it a shot in singles and see what happens. Whereas in doubles, I am pretty certain I will be able to play.

ANDY MURRAY, three-time Grand Slam champion, on his progress.

"It has been really good so far. I'm playing lots of golf. I don't have any pain walking round the course and swinging clubs. When I'm on the court hitting, it has been perfect.

"If I continue to feel good, then I will obviously give it a shot in singles and see what happens. Whereas in doubles, I am pretty certain I will be able to play."

If Murray is to play singles again, it will probably be on hard courts in the second half of this year.

"I would say there is very little chance I would play singles during the grass season," he added.

"Potentially doubles. Because I've only just started moving now, to get ready for the grass singles-wise it's not enough time."

Until Monday, Murray had been restricted to hitting from a static position during light practices with partners including Dan Evans, his British Davis Cup teammate, and Anett Kontaveit, the women's world No. 16 from Estonia coached by his father-in-law, Nigel Sears.

While observers noted that he was striking the ball very well, there was not much else that could be gathered from these gentle sessions.

At first glance on Monday, it was immediately noticeable that Murray had increased the intensity by several notches as he moved forwards, backwards and side to side while exchanging ground strokes with Kyrgios for about 90 minutes.

While feeling the urge to return now that the pain has gone, Murray is currently satisfied by being able to perform everyday tasks, such as putting on his shoes and socks, and playing with his children without feeling a twinge.

"I'm enjoying just not being in pain, enjoying playing golf, enjoying being around my kids and being able to do things that were not fun even six months ago," he said.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2019, with the headline 'Pain-free Murray upbeat, eyes Wimbledon doubles'. Print Edition | Subscribe