Andy Murray proving an inspiration for Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s late World Cup push
Andy Murray knows a thing or two about overcoming setbacks and injuries so it was no surprise that he was able to share some notes with Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the two subjects.
Midfielder Loftus-Cheek was part of England’s 2018 World Cup squad, but an Achilles injury in the middle of 2019 saw him spend more than a year on the sidelines while he has also struggled with a back problem over the past two campaigns.
However, the 26-year-old is returning to form and is feeling “strong and fit” again, and has set his sights on a recall to the England squad ahead of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Tennis fan Loftus-Cheek revealed that he has been talking with former world No 1 Murray about injuries as the three-time Grand Slam winner has missed a lot of tennis over the years due to his long-standing hip problem.
After a dream 2016 season that saw him win a second Wimbledon title, a second Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games and finish the year as the world No 1, Murray missed large parts of the 2017 season due to his injury.
He first underwent an operation in early 2018, but it didn’t cure the problem and in January 2019 he underwent hip replacement surgery. Although he has been able to play consistently over the past two years, he has still struggled with groin and back problems.
Loftus-Cheek says he has been comparing injuries with the tennis great as he knows about the ups and downs of sport.
“I went to see Andy play and train at Surbiton in the summer – I am a big tennis fan, and we had a good chat at the Laver Cup,” he said. “It was good to find out how he sees himself, talk about his career the injuries that have hindered him through it – he had a big one with his hip.
“We had a good chat to compare our careers and how injuries have been a big part, but I feel good now – strong and fit. Being injury-free in the past couple of years has been a big positive for me, and I feel like I am now at a moment in my career at Chelsea where I am impacting games.
“It hasn’t always been like that, for various reasons, but it’s what I’ve been wanting to feel since I was 17 or 18.”
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