After deep thought, Andy Murray decided to play singles again since nearly eight months ago when he hobbled off the court at Melbourne with severe hip pain. Speeding up time, he tried his first singles match with France’s Richard Gasquet at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Gasquet who has conquered many illnesses and injuries was in fine form and won over Murray in straight sets 6-4, 6-4. The Brit made his comeback from hip surgery at the Wimbledon Championships and decided to play doubles with Pierre-Hugues Herbert losing in the second round and partnering with Serena Williams going through to the round of 16.
He had to think deeply on what would be fun, but also physically manageable in playing competitively again on court. He had already said that he didn’t want to continue and end his playing career in doubles. The stimulation of the crowd and isolation of playing for one’s own self was more appealing but could he manage it? It was playing Gasquet that Murray said “I think I did okay.”
Some things could have been better he admitted but was glad he made the effort to see the result. Andy Murray and brother Jamie paired in doubles at the Citi Open making it through the quarterfinals. It might have been extraordinary for Andy but his brother approached his partnering with him as very cautious.
“It’s impossible to tell (how far he can get). No one has done the surgery and come back to play singles, so for him, there are a lot of unknowns,” Jamie Murray had said and given his feelings on the partnering that “I want to give myself the best chance with Andy, but probably right now he’s not in his peak moment…”
The Cincinnati Open proved a lot to Andy Murray despite losing the singles. He knows now not to push the envelope with playing a singles game as yet. He had said, “I’m not going to play the U.S. Open singles.”
After the Cincinnati first round, he says “..my legs were a bit heavy at the match in comparison as they normally would be…” He knows that it was a bit of a struggle getting to some of Gasquet’s shots, especially drop shots but as the match went on he felt he played better.
It was a tried and learn situation for Murray and he says “..I think the first game I felt quite nervous…it was a bit windy and I felt right unsure of myself…” Andy Murray has to now re-evaluate his stance on participating on what level and how often.
There will be a balance to find that Murray will feel comfortable with but it’s early yet and his desire to continue to play no matter what level is taking preference over not participating at all.