Andy Murray announced in January his tearful retirement plans. It was thought to be the end of his career.
The Brit opted for life-changing hip resurfacing surgery, the same as Bob Bryan had. Murray is now pain-free and able to do normal everyday things. Playing with his children, walking the dog. Even tying his shoelaces was painful before the operation.
Andy Murray Makes Comeback
No player has ever returned to singles from this type of operation. Bob Bryan successfully returned to the professional circuit after five months. However, this is in the doubles.
Roll forward to June 2019. Murray decided he was ready to try and return to professional tennis. The Brit opted to start with doubles. It’s less stressful on the body than singles. Returning to the grass courts of Queens Club, where the Brit has a lifetime commitment if fit to play.
Murray chose a non doubles specialist for his partner. Mostly because there were low expectations. However, the Brit also felt he needed to be able to withdraw if he was not up to playing. Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, an accomplished grass courter in the twilight of his career, agreed to play.
When the draw was made at the Fever-Tree Championship the pair were drawn against the top seeds. Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah were expected to end the comeback. If Murray had lost that match, it would still have been the start.
Murray may be a little bit rusty having not played competitive tennis since January. It showed in the first set when he was a little bit slow. However, the Brit soon got into his stride.
Fairy tale ending
Amazingly Murray and Lopez made the final at Queens, while Lopez won the singles title by playing some of his best tennis of the season. Having finished their quarter-final and played the semi-final in the same day, the fairy tale was still on.
Murray and singles Champion Lopez took the court against Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram. Barely 40 minutes after Lopez had lifted the singles trophy. Could the fairy tale start have the happiest ending?
Every shot, every serve and return hit by Murray was willed to be a winner. Every winner greeted by whoops of delight by the mostly British crowd. Coming back to play on his favourite surface in front of a home crowd. Pushed to a third set super tiebreak, Murray and Lopez defeated Salisbury/Ram 7-6 5-7 10-5, the first title for Murray since March 2017, and his first doubles title since 2011.
Murray’s first tournament back, after it was thought to be all over back in January. The story really could only have one ending. Murray had been missing the tennis, but is taking his recovery seriously. Winning the doubles title at Queens is the fairy tale ending. The Brit now has five singles and one doubles title at the same event.
Considering Murray thought he may never return to the game, this has been an incredible achievement. The fans have missed him. The game really has missed him. Murray will need to decide if he wants to return to singles, currently he is hoping to return about September.
The Brit is playing doubles next week in Eastbourne with Marcelo Melo. Murray is also playing at the biggest event in the grass court season. Sadly it is too early for Wimbledon singles, but doubles with Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Murray also wants to play the mixed doubles. Based on this week at Queens, the doubles specialists need to afraid, very afraid. Andy Murray standing on the other end of the court is not something you really want to see.