Andy Murray's triumphant return to the Grand Slam will wait a little longer. Plagued by a serious hip injury, the Briton delivered a poignant press conference, announcing that he was close to retirement at the Australian Open last January. Returning finally during the season, the former world number one could have rediscovered the intoxication of major events and make people forget the emotion of 2019. Instead, his agent announced on Saturday evening the package of Sir Andy for the Major of Melbourne, touched this time in the groin.
The bad luck is tenacious for the Scot. We saw him come back so far during the season when he lifted the trophy in Antwerp, the first in nearly two years on the circuit. After the sensational comebacks of Novak Djokovic or even Rafael Nadal after serious physical glitches, why couldn't Andy Murray turn into a phoenix on the courts either? Her body finally decided otherwise. Murray is insufficiently recovered from a groin injury which had already deprived him of the end of the season and in particular of the new Davis Cup.
“I worked so hard to be able to play at the best level and I am disgusted that I cannot play in Australia in Januaryreacted Murray. After the Australian Open this year, when I wasn't sure I could play again, I couldn't wait to get back there and give my best. And it’s even more disappointing. Unfortunately, I recently had a relapse and as a precaution, I have to recover before I can return to competition.“
Back to Montpellier, Roland-Garros or Wimbledon in the viewfinder?
Murray will also miss the ATP Cup, the new team competition, which will be contested earlier this year. The timing for a return of the current 125e world player is a total uncertainty and now leaves Roland-Garros as possible next Grand Slam meeting. The Parisian clay is not the ideal surface for players in precarious physical condition, and Roger Federer had thus preferred to pass his turn Porte d'Auteuil three seasons in a row to preserve his body. The prospect of a recovery in his Wimbledon garden where he won twice (2013, 2016) could also encourage the player to be cautious.
Barely a year after an operation that could have put an end to his career, time is now an ally for Andy Murray. If this new physical setback deprived him of the last weeks of his internship in Florida in preparation for the hard season in March, his return could take place in Montpellier from February 2.
Denis Menetrier and Loris Belin