Andy Murray uncertain of what comes next as he weighs up options after Australian Open defeat

After his first-round defeat by Roberto Bautista Agut, Murray said that he saw two possible options for the months ahead

Paul Newman
Monday 14 January 2019 17:01 GMT
Andy Murray after Australian Open loss: 'maybe I'll see you again'

Andy Murray admitted here on Monday that he faces a dilemma over what to do next about the hip injury which has caused him so much physical pain and mental anguish over the last 18 months.

After his 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2 first-round defeat by Roberto Bautista Agut at Australian Open, Murray said that he saw two possible options.

The first would be to rest his right hip for the next few months before going back into training and playing at this summer’s Wimbledon, which would be his farewell tournament.

“Although tonight was not comfortable in terms of my hip – at the end I was really struggling and I can’t walk properly at all just now – I could play another match,” he said.

However, the continuing pain from the injury has been making the 31-year-old Scot consider another plan of action, which would be to undergo a second and more serious operation on his hip. He said he expected to make a decision whether to go ahead with “resurfacing” surgery within the next week.

Murray has been told that the operation should take away the pain, but it could well mean the end of his playing career. “There are absolutely no guarantees I’d be able to play again,” he said. “I’m fully aware of that. It’s a really big operation. There are no guarantees that you can come back from that.

“But there is the possibility, because guys have done it before. Bob Bryan [the American doubles player] is doing it just now. Some other athletes have given it a go.”

Murray said he did not know how long his recovery from the operation would be, but said that Bryan, a former world No 1, had undergone similar surgery in August and is now back competing.

“He’s fairly optimistic about how he’s feeling,” Murray said. “He’s only five months into rehabbing. He told me that he didn’t do the rehab as well as he could have done early on. It will be interesting to see how he gets on.”

Murray added: “It would improve my quality of life. I’ll be in less pain doing normal things like walking around and putting my shoes and socks on.Just now, going to walk my dogs, or play football with my friends, is the worst thing I can think of doing. I hate it because [my hip is] so sore and it’s uncomfortable.

“I don’t really know whether I want to wait another five or six months to do something that will just be another period where I’m really uncomfortable.”

Murray admitted that there had been times in the past when he had over-trained, which might have contributed to his current problems.

He was probably referring to the end of 2016, when he won 24 matches in a row to secure the year-end world No 1 ranking and within days went to his pre-season training camp in Miami. He had to deal with a series of health issues in the first half of the following year culminating in the hip injury, which he suffered at the French Open.

“It’s a difficult one because once you start training a certain way, you have success doing it that way and it’s easy to think that’s what is giving you success, because your results improve,” he said.

Murray in action during the second set against Bautista Agut
Murray in action during the second set against Bautista Agut (Getty Images)

“Actually, for sure I would have been OK if I’d played a little bit less, taken a few more days off, spent a bit more time resting. Right now, it’s something that frustrates me because of the situation I’m in, and I wish I had done things a little bit differently at times.

“It’s also been a flaw of mine. Some people might say: ‘It’s a positive thing that Andy worked really, really hard, trained hard.’ But I also often didn’t stop myself when I was being told to do things.

“I should have sometimes said: ‘No, I’m not doing that today.’ Or: ‘No, I don’t want to train today, I’m sore, I need a day off.’ I didn’t do that. I would always just go along with what I was being told.That was a mistake.”

He added: “I trained hard – probably too hard at certain stages in my career. That was something that I would change and do differently if I could go back.

“Some people have said over the last few days that I got everything out of my game, but I feel like I should have done better. I could have done things differently. There are matches here, for example, that I would love to play again.”

Murray appears to have said his final goodbye to Melbourne
Murray appears to have said his final goodbye to Melbourne (EPA)

Murray said he would have liked his daughters to have had the opportunity to come and watch him play tennis but was “aware that that probably isn’t going to happen now. I’m a bit sad about that.”

Although this was potentially his last match, Murray said he had felt a lot better after last Friday’s press conference, when he broke down in tears after admitting how much pain he had been in and revealed that he planned to retire at some stage this year.

“I felt a lot better because for the last 18 months, I was struggling a lot,” he explained.“When you’re going to compete, you want to be positive and optimistic about things because you don’t want to be telling your opponents, the guys you’re competing against, how bad you’re feeling.

“You get lots of players and coaches coming up and saying: ‘How are you getting on?’ You say you’re doing OK, getting better, such and such, when actually you know you’re really struggling.That was the first time I came out and let everyone know how bad it’s been.”

Murray said he had been touched by the accolades from fellow players that were broadcast on a big screen in the stadium at the end of his match tonight.

“Although we’ve been extremely competitive with each other, played in big matches, all of the Slams and Olympics, things like that, I do think there is a genuine respect between all of those guys,” he said.

“I have their numbers. We message each other from time to time and congratulate each other.I’m sure that when we finish playing we’ll remain friends. That’s important at the end of the day.”

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