'Pain-free' Murray still targeting return

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Andy Murray says he is “pain-free” after hip surgery but that his chances of playing singles at Wimbledon this year are “less than 50%”.

Murray had hip resurfacing surgery in January, which he said meant it was possible he would not be able to play professionally again.

But the three-time Grand Slam champion said it was the only option if he wanted to return to competitive action.

“The rehab is slow but going well,” the 31-year-old Briton said.

“I want to continue playing, I said that in Australia. The issue is I don’t know whether it’s possible.”

In an interview with BBC sports editor Dan Roan at Queen’s Club, the former world number one added: “The operation went well. I’m feeling good and walking around pain free – which hasn’t been the case for pretty much 18 months, two years.

“The reason for having the surgery was to improve all the day-to-day things and my quality of life.

“I wasn’t enjoying tennis, I wasn’t enjoying going out for walks and doing basic things – it was painful tying my laces. I wanted to get rid of that.”

Andy Murray's hip following surgery

Murray added he was under “no pressure” to resume a career which has also seen him win two Olympic gold medals among 45 singles titles.

“I have to wait and see. I’m not allowed to start doing any high-impact movement for the first four months after the surgery and it is only then when I can see if I can compete at any level,” he said.

“Whether that is competing in the top 10 in the world, that is probably unlikely, but could I get to top 50, top 100 level? That may be possible.

“I don’t feel any pressure to come back and play. I don’t feel like I have to get back to playing Wimbledon or playing tennis again.

“I just want the hip to be as good as it can be and if it allows me to play, that’s brilliant.

“If not, I’m not in pain anymore and I’m happy with that.”

Murray broke down in tears at the Australian Open in January, saying in his pre-tournament news conference that he planned to retire after this year’s Wimbledon because of the pain in his hip.

However, he added that the first Grand Slam of 2019 could prove to be the last tournament of his career.

After a gutsy first-round five-set defeat by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, Murray appeared to soften his stance by telling the Melbourne crowd he hoped to see them again next year.

In his post-match news conference he said he was considering the resurfacing operation primarily to improve his quality of life.

Murray had the operation – which keeps more of the damaged bone than a hip replacement, smoothing the ball down and covering it with a metal cap – in London on 28 January.

American doubles player Bob Bryan had the same surgery last year and was back playing again, alongside twin brother Mike, five months later.

No tennis player has competed in singles after having the operation.

“To play singles at Wimbledon I’d say it would be less than 50% chance, doubles maybe possibly,” Murray added.

“Bob Bryan had the same operation and was competing after five and a half months. But there is a vast difference between singles and doubles, in terms of the physicality and the loads you put through the body.

“I think it is possible to return to singles, but I don’t want to say it is highly likely because it hasn’t been done before. I can’t look at another tennis player and say that guy has done it.

“The surgeons said I can try but couldn’t give me any guarantees.

“The thing that gives me hope is that in Australia and in the past 18 months, my hip was in a really bad way and I was still able to compete and win matches against very good players.”

“If my hip is better now and with less pain there is a chance I could do it again.”

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BBC Sport – Tennis

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