Andy Murray 'most likely' out for the season as world number two chooses rest and rehabilitation over hip surgery

The British world number two has been battling with a hip injury all summer and was recently forced to pull out of the US Open after limping out of Wimbledon with the same problem

Paul Newman
New York
Wednesday 06 September 2017 12:11 BST
Andy Murray's 2017 season is likely over through injury
Andy Murray's 2017 season is likely over through injury (Getty)

Andy Murray has decided not to have surgery on the hip injury which has troubled him for the last three months and is hoping instead that rest and rehabilitation will help him recover full fitness in time for the start of the 2018 season.

Although the world No 2 has not entirely ruled out a return to competition before the end of this year, he has pulled out of his scheduled tournaments next month in Beijing and Shanghai. Murray said that he was also likely to miss the subsequent indoor tournaments in Vienna and Paris, though he is still planning to play Roger Federer in a charity event in Glasgow in November.

He would almost certainly miss the Nitto ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London anyway because he will not have earned enough ranking points to have qualified for the eight-man field.

Murray first felt the hip injury in his semi-final defeat to Stan Wawrinka at the French Open three months ago. His hip felt sore throughout the grass-court season, during which he lost first time out to Jordan Thompson in the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club and struggled through Wimbledon.

The Scot was clearly in pain as he lost to Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals at the All England Club, after which he consulted medical specialists, who thought that rest should solve the problem.

Murray withdrew from the Montreal and Cincinnati Masters tournaments at the start of the north American hard-court season and travelled here a week before the US Open in the hope of being fit enough to play in the year’s final Grand Slam event.

He was still practising just hours before making his decision to pull out two days before the tournament began. “I kind of ran out of time,” he said in announcing his withdrawal.

After further consultations with medical experts, Murray is still hoping that rest will be the answer. The Scot said in a statement: “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to compete in the upcoming events in Beijing and Shanghai, and, most likely, the final two events to finish the season in Vienna and Paris due to my hip injury which has been bothering me the last few months.

Murray has endured a difficult 2017 

 Murray has endured a difficult 2017 

“Having consulted with a number of leading hip specialists over the last week, along with my own team, we have decided that this is the best decision for my long-term future. Although this has been a frustrating year on court for many reasons, I’m confident after this extended period of rest and rehabilitation that I will be able to reach my best level again and be competing for Grand Slam titles next season.”

However, Murray said that he was looking forward to playing Federer in Scotland later this year – the “Andy Murray Live” event is scheduled for November 7 in Glasgow - and added that he would begin his 2018 season in Brisbane in preparation for the Australian Open.

He added: “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.”

Murray will now rest and rehab in the hope of being fully fit for 2018 

 Murray will now rest and rehab in the hope of being fully fit for 2018 

While increasing numbers of players are competing well into their thirties, there is a price to be paid in terms of wear-and-tear on the body. Federer and Rafael Nadal both took extended breaks last year because of injury and have returned strongly in 2017.

Hip injuries have become commonplace in tennis, especially since most tournaments have been played on hard courts. Greg Rusedski, Fernando Gonzalez, Gustavo Kuerten and Magnus Norman all had their careers finished by hip injuries, while Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian were regularly troubled by hip problems, especially in their latter years.

Most players choose not to have surgery, though some have made successful comebacks after hip operations. Tommy Haas had hip surgery in 2010, returned to competition in 2011 and by the following summer was beating Federer in the final of the Halle Open.

Murray hasn't played since Wimbledon and could now not play again until 2018
Murray hasn't played since Wimbledon and could now not play again until 2018 (Getty Images)

Murray, however, has decided that for the moment this is not the route he wants to go down. The last time he had surgery was in September 2013 when he had an operation to repair a long-term problem with his back. He did not return to competition until the following January, did not win a title for nine months and took some 18 months to recover his best form.

If Murray does not play competitive tennis again this season he will join three other current top 10 players – Novak Djokovic, Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori - who have ruled out playing again this year because of long-term injury issues.

Murray is currently ranked No 2 in the world but will probably drop out of the top 20 by the end of the year. That would mean he would still be seeded at the Australian Open, though he could be in danger of meeting one of the top players as early as the third round

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