Murray to make 'last-minute' Wimbledon call as he fights back from injury

The Scot opened up on retirement but wants 'competitive' farewell.

Andy Murray to make ‘last-minute’ Wimbledon decision as he fights back from injury Getty Images

Andy Murray says he’ll leave it until the very last minute to decide if he is fit enough to compete at Wimbledon – but says it’s unlikely he’ll be able to play in the singles competition.

Murray underwent surgery on a spinal cyst on Saturday after being forced to withdraw from Queen’s tournament last week, prompting speculation that the two-time Wimbledon winner would be forced to miss playing at SW19 for a final time.

The Scot says he’s already back on court training and is doing everything to make sure he can play at the prestigious tournament, and he will be in Friday’s draw, with a decision on his fitness to be made the day before his first match.

Murray said he felt it was more likely he would miss the singles than play, and would weigh up entering the doubles depending on his progress.

He said: “Maybe it’s my ego getting in the way but I feel that I deserve the opportunity to give it until the very last moment to make that decision [on the singles].

“If I was to be playing on Monday, I may know on Sunday there’s no chance that I can play. it’s not going to recover overnight from where it is enough to allow me to play. So a decision to play singles, I may be able to make that on Sunday or whatever. But also if it is progressing… I’m on the court yesterday and I’m able to go on the court and move around more today and start to do more sort of tennis movements and stuff, I’m not necessarily going to know how that’s going to change over the next 48 to 72 hours.

“If I’m not able to play singles, I don’t know exactly when the first round doubles matches start, but there’s a difference with how I’m recovering to play on a Monday as opposed to playing on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

“The rate that I’m improving just know, if that was to continue then an extra 72 to 96 hours makes a huge difference.”

Murray was Wimbledon champion in 2013 and 2016, as well as winning gold at the All England Club during the 2012 Olympics. An emotional farewell to the venue and fans has been a part of his thoughts around retirement and he said that meant he felt entitled to wait until the last minute to make the call.

“It’s complicated, and it’s made more complicated because I want to play at Wimbledon one more time,” he said. “I want to have that opportunity to play the tournament and I know that some people might look at that and say, withdrawing from a tournament late at the last minute or something like isn’t the right thing to do, even though it happens every single week on the tour.

“The winner of Queen’s will pull out of Eastbourne when the draw has been done and is clearly totally fit.

“But I feel like I deserve the opportunity to try to play there again. And I want to have that opportunity, so I’m going to give it as long as I can to see how well I recover.

“I spoke to my brother about that a couple of days ago in terms of the doubles and everything to see if he wants to find someone else to play with, and I  was obviously absolutely fine with that. But he also wants the opportunity to try to play.

“We’ll see see how the next few days go.”

Murray said it had been pretty tough dealing with the injury and unexpected surgery, which experts said was necessary as the spinal cyst caused nerve compression and made it difficult for the 37-year-old to walk.

He said that he had already been hitting balls on the court and “not in much pain” but that it is “impossible to know” the actual rate of recovery after having been given multiple different possible timelines.

“I was told that this was going to be six to 12 weeks,” he said. “I wouldn’t be sitting here today just waiting until the last minute to have my name in the draw. I’m trying everything I can to play, I’m practising on the court, I’m rehabbing and trying to accelerate this process to give myself a chance to play.

“And yeah I don’t feel guilty about it. It has been mentioned to me, are you going to withdraw before the draw at 10am on Friday? And I’m like ‘Well, no, I’m not. I’m going to wait until the last minute to see if I’m going to be able to and I’ve earned that right to do that’.

“This is not clear cut where I am 100% going to be ready to play or there is a 0% chance that I can play. That is the situation.

“I would say it’s probably more likely that I’m not able to play singles right now. I’m also f***ing doing rehab 24/7 to try to give myself that opportunity to play there again.”

After undergoing hip surgery in 2018, Murray has struggled with injuries and inconsistent form but has continued to compete and manage his fitness as best he can. He has said that he is unlikely to continue with top-level tennis after this summer, with a Wimbledon swansong and a final appearance at the Olympics earmarked as his farewell events.

However, should the latest surgery prove to be an end to those plans, he hinted he may yet look to the US Open as a last competitive tournament.

“All of the discussions and conversations that I’ve had with my team are that I’m not going to play past this summer,” Murray said. “Obviously I’ve had the conversation with my family. and I have a family holiday booked the week after the Olympics.

“I’m not planning on going over to New York. But then I also don’t want the last time that I played on a tennis court to be what happened at Queen’s either, and again I know that there’s more important things in the world than how I finish playing my last tennis match or where I finished playing my last tennis match.

“But because of  what I put into the sport over the last however many years, I would at least like to go out playing a proper match where I’m at least competitive, not what happened at Queen’s.

“So I can’t say for sure that if I wasn’t able to play at Wimbledon, and I didn’t recover in time to play at the Olympics that I wouldn’t consider trying to play another tournament somewhere. But if I’m able to play at Wimbledon and if I’m able to play at the Olympics, that’s most likely going to be it.”

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