Cape Town - Jamie Murray admits his brother Andy is happy to be pain-free, but admits it is difficult to say what level he will play should he return to competitive tennis.
Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy underwent hip resurfacing surgery in January, but acknowledged that he was unsure if he will be able to make a comeback.
However, he has taken tentative steps in recent weeks and even posted an Instagram story recently showing him on a tennis court hitting tennis balls again.
Brother Jamie joined The 2 Barrys Tennis Takeaway Podcast and revealed it has been tough for Andy to gauge how well his recovery is going as he doesn’t really have any history to go by in terms of singles players with similar injuries.
“It’s been very difficult for him since he stopped playing at Wimbledon in 2017, I think,” Jamie said. “He’s done absolutely anything and everything he can to get his body right to compete. In Australia he was like ‘I just can’t keep going like this’ because there was just too much pain every day and he said ‘I need to go and get the surgery done but after that I don’t know what will happen’. There was no sort of history of players doing that.
“The thing is nobody (playing singles) has had the surgery and on top of that nobody had had the surgery and then tried to go back and play tennis again. He didn’t really have anything to go on to know what was possible form the surgery but he doing his rehab and he getting more active as the video showed.
“He saw Bob Bryan in Miami last week having had the same surgery and he’s 41-year-old now, so I’m sure that gives him enough confidence to know he can get back out on court and play. Obviously, doubles is a lot different. You’re getting out and running side-to-side on a singles court and movement plays a huge part in his game.”
Jamie added: “I think he’s probably cautiously optimistic now. He obviously didn’t know what was going to be possible so first and foremost I think he’s just happy not to have the pain everyday because that was so debilitating, so depressing each day to wake up and go through that pain all the time. At least he’s got rid of that now and hopefully he can get back on court, but to what level? We don’t know yet.”
Co-host Barry Mills then asked how Andy would feel if he returned to the game, but is unable to compete at the highest level again.
“I guess when you’ve played at the top for so long and you’ve only ever been about winning Grand Slams and Masters Series, I guess that’s the level that you want to come back to,” Jamie said.
“If you told him that you can come back and you can play to 40 in the world, I don’t think that’s inspiring for him when you’re used to playing semi-finals, finals, and all these big matches, but again, I don’t know how much he misses it. I don’t know how much he misses the competition and being back on court competing. I would imagine for him, having had so many incredible moments on a tennis court, if you don’t feel like you can achieve them again then it would be difficult to stay quite motivated.”