Andy Murray says he’s likely to miss the rest of the season
Is this the beginning of the end for Britain’s biggest tennis star?
Andy Murray has announced he will “most likely” miss the rest of the season because of the hip injury that has plagued him all year - fuelling speculation that his Grand Slam-winning days are behind him.
The world No. 2 withdrew from the US Open two days before the tournament began and has not played since Wimbledon in July.
In the British tournament, he was clearly struggling with his hip, failing to display the lithe athleticism that propelled him to the title the previous year, so his gloomy prognosis this week comes as little surprise.
It means he will be absent from next month’s China Open and Shanghai Masters, as well as the ATP Tour events in Vienna and Paris.
“This is the best decision for my long-term future,” said Murray, who turned 30 in May.
Describing 2017 as “frustrating”, Murray said in a Facebook post: “I’m confident after this extended period of rest and rehabilitation I will be able to reach my best level again and be competing for Grand Slam titles next season. I have a fantastic team working alongside me to help me through this process and appreciate the support from them and all of my fans over this difficult period.”
He is not expected to be seen on court again until the Brisbane International, starting on 1 January, followed by the Australian Open, which begins a fortnight later.
His decision was taken after consultation with a number of hip specialists and has inevitably cast doubt over his playing future.
On the plus side, Murray didn’t say that his hip required surgery - but, as the Daily Mail says, “for every month a player is absent from the tour, it takes that long for him or her to get back to the level they were before”.
The paper says that he is unlikely to be back to his best until at least next summer’s Wimbledon, addng that it “remains entirely possible we will not see him regain his full powers at all”.
Murray’s game is built on what the Mail describes as “a lot of hard grind and running”, and a degenerative hip condition combined with his age could mean he will never regain the speed needed to dominate opponents.
Murray will drop to around 17 in the rankings if he doesn’t play until January next year; and with his wife expecting their second child in October, there will be one more thing to focus on other than tennis.
As the Mail asks, is the injury break “the beginning of the end” for Britain's greatest tennis star of the modern era?