Andy Murray embarks on long road back to the top
Former world No.1 set to return to action following injury
Twelve months ago Andy Murray was on top of the world.
The Scot was celebrating becoming the first Briton to be crowned world No.1 since computerised rankings began in 1973 following a stellar season which saw him win Wimbledon and Olympic gold.
A year on and the picture does not look so rosy for Murray who dropped to No.16 this week, his lowest position since 2008.
The 30-year-old has not played since losing to Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon on July 12 and has been sidelined by a hip injury ever since.
Murray begins his comeback in low-key fashion this evening when he takes on Roger Federer in an exhibition match in Glasgow.
The BBC’s tennis correspondent Russell Fuller believes the Andy Murray Live event will give a clearer indication as to whether the three-time Grand Slam champion is on course to return to competitive action in the new year.
“There seems to be an increasing, yet still cautious, optimism that he will be ready for his scheduled return in Brisbane in the first week of January. A finally accepting he was in too much pain to contest the US Open, the 30-year-old has been keeping his cards very close to his chest but in recent weeks, there has been a subtle change. His coach Jamie Delgado posted some footage of Murray rallying from the baseline a fortnight ago, and the young British player Jay Clarke posted a similar video on Instagram.”
Doubles specialist Jamie Murray will also be in action in Glasgow and will team up with younger brother Andy to take on Tim Henman and Mansour Bahrami after the singles showdown with Federer.
Both matches are more for the entertainment of a 14,000 crowd and to raise money for charity but Jamie Murray told the Daily Telegraph the event is still an important step in Andy’s rehabilitation.
“Andy has been in the gym for a while with his team, working to get back on the court, and in the last three weeks they’ve been hitting balls again and building up to playing in Glasgow.
“I think this has been the longest spell he has had off the tour in his career, so I’m sure he’s excited to be playing a match again. He is someone who loves to compete and this should be a chance for him to test his body out and see how he’s doing.”
However, The Guardian is putting less significance on how Murray fares in Glasgow tonight and fears the Scot’s problems could turn out to be more long-term.
“His left hip remains the focal point of his concern and there are suspicions the problem might be arthritis; if that is so, there are no guarantees. The player, who has decided against surgery in favour of intense rehab, has been reluctant to expand on the exact nature of his problem, which is reason enough in itself for his fans to be worried.”
Murray is not the only former world No.1 to have slipped out of the top ten this week with Novak Djokovic down to 12th having been absent from the ATP Tour since July with an elbow problem.
Djokovic is hoping to start his comeback in Abu Dhabi next month at the exhibition World Tennis Championship.