Throughout his career, Andy Murray has never backed down from a challenge.
Early on in his career he was doubted physically, mentally and slated in the press. When he faced adversity he always came through strong. Any doubts have always been quashed.
He has always come through obstacles and has battled at the very top of mens tennis consistently in one of the most brutal era’s.
In the Resurfacing documentary on Amazon Prime we heard from his family, his team (Mark Bender, Matt Little, Shane Annun & Jamie Murray) and former coaches (Mark Petchey, Brad Gilbert, Amelie Mauresmo & Ivan Lendl) about his character and determination.
In June 2018 he made the decision to return to tennis at Queens Club following around eleven months out with injections in the hip shelving some pain and finding some movement again.
On his return in 2018 he fell to his good friend Nick Kyrgios in three sets in a comeback he described as ‘disappointing’ in the documentary. Kyle Edmund a week later in Eastbourne saw off the Brit early too.
Andy then withdrew from Wimbledon.
At this point, Murray was worried about losing that structure in his day to day life and potentially stopping playing tennis.
Another course of injections followed and as per Matt Little (fitness coach) Andy turned up and loved his training and in his words ‘blitzed’ through speed tests.
Next was a trip to the states to play in Washington where he left it all out there. He was fighting, shouting at himself and continued to show what he is all about. Wins against McDonald & Edmund but the more he played the more the pain came back.
6-7 6-3 7-6 v Marius Copil in the early hours of the morning saw him survive another marathon but that was the end of his journey for now. Andy was in tears as he left the court and subsequently pulled out of the event.
The emotion came from the pain his body was in and the feeling that this was the end for him.
“I really want to keep going but my body is telling me no”
He wasn’t done yet.
In October of 2018 he headed out to the USA to work with conditioning coach Bill Knowles doing fun exercises and routines as Murray big to find his way back. Bill added fun and took it back to basics for the former number one.
Before Christmas that year he found some usual routine back in his life. A trip to Miami, Crandon Park where he does majority of his pre-season training year on year as he did to be ready for 2019.
The pain just wouldn’t go for Andy. A match against Roberto Bautista Agut in Melbourne looked like being the end. I was mid-flight from Perth to Melbourne for the final stages of the match which epitomised his never give up attitude.
His press conference in Melbourne was seen as a final farewell as he broke down in tears with all hints towards him ending his career at Wimbledon.
The decision now was bigger than just tennis. Hip resurfacing surgery was on the cards. It could potentially lead to him playing professional singles tennis again but he would be the first but it would also allow him to enjoy family life more and be able to play with his kids pain free.
Against Agut on a packed Melbourne Arena the Brit pulled out all the stops from two sets down to level the match. Down 5-1 in the final set the crowd in Melbourne rose to their feet as an emotional Murray thanked them for the support.
At the end of the match Andy told the crowd;
“I don’t know, maybe I will see you again!”
Wife Kim in the documentary said that he changed his mind time and time again and became ‘geeky’ about hip surgery and reached out to Bob Bryan who had hip resurfacing recently too.
On the 28th of January, he had the operation.
The work then began with his physio Shane Annun to learn how to move again to build strength back up.
Andy spoke with his surgeon and she told him that there could be at 15% chance of playing tennis for seven more years would destroy the hip.
“I always thought tennis made me happy, but I’m happy just not being in pain now”
No one gets close to Andy when you talk about hard work and determination which saw him climb incredible heights during his rehab and his return to mens doubles in Queens.
Less than six months after life changing surgery he teamed up with Feliciano Lopez and won Queens doubles title, phenomenal!
Singles was the question that continued to be on everyones lips and even Serena had a laugh about it during their run in the mixed together but that wait would go on past New York.
Cincinnati was the destination. I remember watching him against Gasquet with a feeling of pride at what this man continues to do.
He went onto play some good singles in Zhuhai, Beijing and Shanghai before finding the perfect ending to a life lesson of a season.
Title winner in Antwerp defeating Stan Wawrinka in the final from a set down! Less than nine months after it was rumoured this could be the end and life changing surgery he came back determined and psychically ready to compete at a high level once again!