Andre Agassi believes Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray made bad decisions that contributed to the delay in their recovery from career-threatening injuries.
Agassi was working as a part-time coach with 12-time major winner Djokovic when he was struck down by an elbow injury that saw him miss a large chunk of the 2017 season and hamper his ambitions in the first half of this year.
Meanwhile, two-time Wimbledon champion Murray delayed a decision on having hip surgery and missed last year’s US Open and the Australian Open in January before finally deciding to go under the knife.
Speaking to Tennis365 at a Lavazza event at Wimbledon, Agassi said both Murray and Djokovic allowed their judgment to be clouded by conflicting medical reports and they have paid the price for their indecision.
“I see similarities in what Novak and Andy have gone through in the last year,” the American told us.
“I was adamant that Novak should have gone for surgery on his elbow when I saw the medical reports last August, but he wanted to believe he could heal holistically and we had a disagreement there.
“Andy, like Novak, is probably stubborn and they want to believe they can get through it without surgery. Maybe they are just hopeful, maybe they are being given mixed advice from different medical people.
“I find some players get advice they want rather than what they need. When they are not told what they want to hear about an injury, they go elsewhere and find someone who will tell them it will be okay.
“They bring in a sewage of activity that pollutes the clarity of their thoughts. Sometimes this happens knowingly and other times they are so emotionally wrapped up in trying to come back that they lose track of what they are trying to do.
“Every week is precious in your career, every tournament is there to be won for a tennis player. We don’t have time to wait around, we have to be going forward. If you need surgery, we need to make the right decision quickly and heal.”
Agassi’s magnificent career was brought to an end by the kind hip problems Murray is battling to overcome. The Scot pulled out of Wimbledon of eve of the tournament last weekend, but he is hoping the 31-year-old finds a way to get back to the top of the game.
“Depending on your game, the hip is probably one of the worst injuries you can have in tennis,” he added. “You need your lower body to be able to stop, break, explode at the right moments and that is especially the case when you game is built around movement, as Andy’s has been.
“So you have to make sure you are healthy, you need to look after the main tool you need to win, which is your body. Your mind can come and go, as we have seen with all the great players at times, but the main advice I would give anyone is make sure your body is right. If you have an injury, don’t rush back just because it is Wimbledon or because you want to. Come back when you are ready.
“He has been out for a year, but the way I see it is he has only really been out for six months because he delayed the decision on surgery and that proved to be wrong in the end.
“It would be great to see Andy coming back to somewhere near his best because he is a great player to watch and the game needs a fit and healthy Andy Murray.”
Andre Agassi spoke to Tennis365 at a Lavazza event.
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