Andy Murray’s achievements will forever be immortalised in the history books of British sport. In an era of vanilla athletes, Andy Murray has always stood out. The self-berating Scotsman has nothing left to prove.
Never afraid of the biggest stages, Murray’s ability has shone through regardless of setting or context. Olympics, Grand Slams or Davis Cups? For Murray, it never seemed to matter. He just got the job done. A former world number one, we mustn’t question Murray’s credentials in 2019. Only one question remains. Is it all over?
It has taken Murray only two months to take his first steps back onto court
Murray’s injury woes have been well-documented. The Scotsman has seen the twilight years of his career maligned by a recurrent hip injury. Eighteen months of physiotherapy did little to remedy the pain, and then came Murray’s emotional Australian Open-eve press-conference. Fighting back the tears, Murray announced that his battle with injury was up and the war was almost over. He would compete at the Australian Open, undergo the very surgery that he had tried so hard to avoid, and then bow at on home soil at Wimbledon.
Murray, defeated in a gruelling five-set match by Roberto Bautista Agut, has since gone under the knife. The former-British number one’s surgery was a success. It has taken Murray only two months to take his first steps back onto court, such is his desire to end his career on the grass courts at Wimbledon.
It is clear that Murray has no desire to stay on the tour in the long-term
Posting on Instagram, Murray was clear that his return to the court was only a “start”. If this is only the start, we are left to question where Murray’s latest efforts are meant to take us and, perhaps harshly, if there is any point in us going there. It is clear that Murray has no desire to stay on the tour in the long-term, injury has simply taken its toll. Realistically, Murray – if fit enough to compete – will obtain a Wildcard berth at Wimbledon and then swiftly hang up his racquet once he is knocked out of the tournament.
It would be one of the greatest comebacks of sporting history if Murray was to make it into the second week at the All England Club. In fact, it would be awe-inspiring if Murray was to make it into the second round.
Murray has always set a phenomenal example for young athletes
Even when he was world number one, Murray has never been rated as the most gifted member of tennis’ “big four”. Rafael Nadal is electric on clay; Novak Djokovic is by far the most athletically gifted; and Roger Federer’s talent is simply timeless. On the other hand, Murray’s career has been defined by his grit, work ethic and counter-attacking prowess.
In the wake of Murray’s Australian Open press-conference, Djokovic touched upon the Scotsman’s greatest intangible asset. Murray has always set a phenomenal example for young athletes; has shown that working hard and being yourself pays-off. Ultimately, Murray would not have reached the top of the mountain without fighting for every single point.
In the cold light of day, Murray will be expected to lose in the first round
As such, it may seem perverse that Murray aims to return for Wimbledon. In the cold light of day, Murray will be expected to lose in the first round. It is possible that Britain’s great competitor will enter the court expecting to taste defeat. To some, that will be a betrayal of the legacy that Murray has spent a decade building. But not to me.
Murray’s battle with injury has now extended into its second year, how could you possibly not be blown away by his desire to bow out of tennis on his own terms? Sure, Murray probably won’t make it into the later rounds at Wimbledon, but, at this point, who even cares? Murray has spent his entire career defying the odds. Against the likes of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic et al., Murray has had to fight tooth and nail to even make it to the top table of his sport, let alone actually win anything.
The biggest critic of Andy Murray has always been Andy Murray
I sincerely hope that Murray makes it to Wimbledon. The biggest critic of Andy Murray has always been Andy Murray. Even as he fell to defeat against Agut in Melbourne earlier this year, Murray muttered to himself critically under Melbourne’s blistering heat. Murray’s form rallied as he berated himself, and so did the crowd because that is the Andy Murray that we have known and loved.
I trust that Murray will bring that relentless desire to Wimbledon. Why? Because he couldn’t leave it at home even if he tried. Fight for us one last time, Sir Andy – we know you want to.