With Andy Murray announcing his pending retirement in January, speculation followed around when or even if he could return.
After undergoing hip surgery, Murray told the BBC he was pain free and enjoying life. The Brit has been hitting tennis balls recently. This led to speculation he was going to return.
Bob Bryan had the same operation as the Brit, and returned to the tour five months later. No tennis player has returned to the professional tour in singles after having the same or similar operations though.
Judy Murray told the BBC that although still early days, the Murray camp would “wait and see” She also stated that Andy was cautiously optimistic about a possible return sometime during the summer.
This seems to have sent some stems of the media into taking this to mean that Murray will return for Wimbledon. The summer season actually extends well after Wimbledon and to the US Open.
Murray was the official starter at the London Marathon this year. In and exclusive interview with the BBC beforehand the Brit himself stated “I don’t feel any pressure to get playing again but if my body will allow, I will try.”
He confirmed what his mother Judy had said in her BBC interview. “I have been hitting the ball from a stationary position but I haven’t been doing any movement” Also that he was pain free and enjoying life.
At no point in any of these conversations has Wimbledon been mentioned directly. In fact, the timing is very likely still too early. Murray has not been running on the court, only hitting from a standing position.
With just under two months until the start of The Championships 2019, it would be very unlikely that Murray will back to full fitness in time for the event this July. With this in mind the media is hyping up a return, like Sky Sports did with their report of the former No. 1’s words.
According to the headline with Sky Sports the Brit said he could make a return to Wimbledon. Nowhere in the quotes from Murray does he state that he could make a return.
Similarly, The Sun also has been suggesting that what Murray said was a hint that he would play the tournament this year. In their headline they state the Brit could make a “shock return.” Nowhere in what the former World #1 has stated recently has mentioned anything of the sort.
The Sun has even suggested it was Judy that said Murray could make a shock return. Again, with the BBC interview, Judy stated that they were cautiously optimistic that he could possibly return in the summer.
That does not equate to making a shock return, or even making a return at all. The kind of headlines used stir up emotions, leading to disappointment if Murray does not make an appearance.
Murray should be free to return when, or more importantly if, he chooses. If his body allows him to return to the game he loves, then all the better. It needs to be on his own terms, not pressured from areas of the media.
Should the Brit feel able to play this year, he can apply for a wild card up until June 1st. That is just over one month from now, and very unlikely to happen. There have been several rumours that the Murray will team up with older brother Jamie and play doubles at the event.
Bob Bryan returned to the circuit a few months after his surgery teaming back up with his brother Mike.
Jamie Murray currently plays the circuit with Bruno Soares. To expect him to drop Soares to play at The All-England Club with younger brother is unfair on the Brazilian. Murray & Soares have been together for a few seasons now, and have won Grand Slams together.
Andy will return to the game if and when he and he alone decides. Aspects of the media hyping up the return need to leave the Brit to make the decision himself. Trying to come back too early, or at all, can cause serious damage to the hip.
A healthy, happy, pain free life is what Murray deserves. After everything he has brought to British Tennis, the former World No. 1 needs to be allowed to decide his own future and not be pushed by certain media outlets into returning.