Once one of the players in the tennis world, Andy Murray has had a tough year filled with rehab and disappointment. After he lost in the first round of the Western & Southern Open, the 32-year-old withdrew from singles competition for the U.S. Open due to pain from his January hip-resurfacing surgery.
Hip injuries can be among the most devastating injuries in sports. People like multi-sport superstar Bo Jackson and former NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas had careers derailed by them. With Murray trying to come back, it’s crucial to reflect on what got him to this point.
According to his ATP bio, the British athlete began to play tennis at the age of three. Despite interests in other sports, Murray eventually settled on a tennis career, moving to Barcelona as he prepared for the pro circuit. He picked up his first title in 2006 at San Jose, and his output kept improving until he made it to the big stage in a finals loss to Roger Federer at the 2010 Australian Open.
This kicked off a six-year stretch where Murray became one of the best players in the world. In 2013, he began to rank No. 1 off and on. He appeared in four more Australian Open finals and went on to win Wimbledon twice and the U.S. Open once. Now, seven years later and in stark contract, he isn’t competing at the U.S. Open at all.
Murray struggled with back issues all the way back in 2013. However, recent right hip surgeries took him almost completely out of contention. After struggling at the 2019 Australian Open — his historically greatest Grand Slam tournament — Murray’s second surgery took him out of singles matches for several months.
After a disappointing showing in a pain-ridden Australian Open, Murray publicly pondered retirement. This was short-lived, however, as he has shown a desire to return to his peak form. Since Australia, Murray has focused on doubles, including a memorable mixed-doubles run with Serena Williams at Wimbledon. Many believed Murray would compete at the U.S. Open doubles only. He surprised everyone, however, when he dropped out altogether in order to focus on rehabilitation.
Murray decided, instead, to drop down to the Challenger Tour, where he can play against the lower-ranked competition to build up his confidence and get ready to compete with the best again. He dominated in his first match against 17-year-old Imran Sibille. It was only his second singles victory of the year.
Can Murray come back?
Murray is 32 years old — young enough to give his career a second wind. However, hip injuries can affect mobility in ways that require even more rehab than some of the most severe injuries. Although he may never reach the heights he once did, Murray coming back to compete would be a fitting addition to his career.
Even if he fails to reach these peaks again, however, he will go down as one of the biggest names in modern men’s tennis. His .775 winning percentage on ATP events and .808 in Grand Slams demonstrates his domination. Murray has amassed upwards of $165 million to date. That number could skyrocket if his comeback attempt is successful.
Whether or not Murray is done, it’s clear he wants to give his tennis career a final push. If he doesn’t, his career will be both great and somewhat incomplete.