Former ATP top ten player Nicolas Almagro believes Andy Murray will struggle to complete a rise back to the top of the game, despite his stunning return to form at Queen’s Club last week.
The former world No.1 produced a sensational set of results alongside partner Feliciano Lopez to win the doubles title at the Fever-Tree Championship, with his performances just five months after he underwent hip surgery fueling hope of a return to singles action later this year.
Murray looked set to call time on his professional tennis career after an emotional match against Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open in January, but his decision to have a last attempt to revive his career has already started to reap dividends.
Yet former French Open semi-finalist Almagro has told Tennis365 at the La Manga Club in Murcia that Murray’s optimism for a return to the upper echelons of the game may not be sustained when he attempts to play the more physically arduous solo form of the game.
Almagro revealed he spoke to Andy’s elder brother Jamie about the progress of the two-time Wimbledon champion when he was practicing at La Manga last month, with all parties accepting the Scot will never be the player he once was.
— La Manga Club (@LaMangaClub) June 6, 2019
“I think he is not going to be 100 per-cent again and he will know that,” stated Almagro, who was forced to call time on his own career earlier this year due to a persistent knee injury.
“I was speaking with his brother Jamie a few weeks ago and I asked him why Andy was trying to do this comeback because it is not easy after hip surgery. He told me the pain has gone and he wants to try one more time, but it will be difficult. Jamie said he knows he won’t be the same, but he feels good and wants to try.
“I wish him success, but will he be top ten or top five like he was before? I think it will be tough to get there. Maybe he believes he can do it and who knows what is possible for a player who has such drive and passion.
“Right now, he is in a position to enjoy tennis. All the time in his life, the target has been to win, to win, to be top of the rankings. When he had pain, he had to run through it because he had the goal to be No.1 and to win Grand Slams. Now it is different and maybe he will be happy to enjoy being pain-free on the court.
“He was out, his career was over and suddenly he is free to enjoy tennis again. We don’t know how far he can take this, but it will be fun watching him.”
Almagro has recently accepted a role as tennis academy director after conceding defeat in his own battle to return to the court, with the former world No.9 confirming the decision to retire was made for him.
“As tennis players, we have pain 90 per-cent of the days when you are a professional and you have to try and deal with that, but I didn’t want to carry on unless I was 100 per-cent,” he added.
“I had four surgeries on my knee and after some time, it became clear that it would be difficult for me to continue. I speak with my doctor and asked him if I can ever be 100 per-cent again and he said no. At that point, it was over for me. I prefer to stop when I was still winning rather than trying to to carry on when I was not able to compete.
“This is a new life now, very different. There is no travelling and there is a different goal at the end. You still have to focus on the next goal, but the target is different now.
“I can spend more time with the family and this role as part of La Manga Club has helped me as well as it has given me something to aim for.”
La Manga Club offers outstanding coaching for players of all levels overseen by former ATP top ten player Nicolas Almagro. For more information, click here –https://lamangaclub.com/en/sports-leisure/tennis-centre-la-manga-club
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