Comment: Too early to declare whether Andy Murray’s comeback is for real
Andy Murray’s return to action on a dank, chilly Thursday evening at Queen’s Club gave us few clues about what lies ahead, but the joy on the face of the three-time Grand Slam champion as he won his first match back on the ATP Tour was a delight to behold.
Murray would never have imaged a tight win in a men’s doubles match on a court he has ruled as a singles champion on five separate occasions would mean so much, yet this was not an ordinary tennis match for the Scot.
Alongside his temporary partner Feliciano Lopez, this was Murray back on a stage he appeared to have departed amid the tears and trauma of what he admitted was likely to have been his final match as a professional at the Australian Open in January.
Yet Murray has been rebuilt since that seemingly desperate day in his career, with his refurbished hip seemingly in fine working order as he produced flashes of brilliance in a match that ended with him flashing his remodelled shiny white teeth to an excited audience.
“It was brilliant. I enjoyed it a lot,” declared Murray. “I was a little bit slow at the beginning but got better as the match went on.
“I’m very fortunate to be back playing tennis again. I love playing on this court, it’s a brilliant place to play tennis.
“I felt quite relaxed in the build-up today but I started to feel a bit nervous walking to the court. You want the nerves and the butterflies in the stomach and I had that today.”
What a moment – On a scale of 1⃣ to #Murray how much did you love that? 😍😍
— LTA (@the_LTA) June 20, 2019
Murray had every right to smile after working so hard to reach this point, yet time will tell whether this was the beginning of something new or the final chorus of his glorious symphony.
Cynics will say that Murray is merely mounting this comeback in a bid to satisfy sponsors old and new, with a recently signed clothing contract with Castore and a new partnership with American Express announced this week amid expectation that he may yet have an extended playing career ahead of him.
An attempt to return to singles action later this year is inevitable and yet Murray openly admits he doesn’t know whether his shattered body will stand up to the rigours of long five-set matches of the ilk he would face should he be tempted to play at the US Open in August.
💪 We think Andy may have enjoyed this one just a little bit…
— LTA (@the_LTA) June 20, 2019
Given all he has put his body through over the course of his career and amid this latest comeback attempt, a winning return to the singles court still seems like a long shot for a 32-year-old who may only have had a couple of years left in the game without the physical problems that have afflicted him.
His fans should get excited by his eagerness to return to the top of the sport he clearly loves, but it is his sponsors who will be revelling in this unexpected comeback from a player who is now more popular with the British public than at any point in his career.
Those looking on at Queen’s Club clearly appreciated the effort and desire of a champion who has more than enough money and accomplishments in his life to retire with his legend intact and at least his admirers can look forward to a few more chapters in the Andy Murray story before we know for sure whether this comeback is for real.
Follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer
More from Tennis365:
WATCH: Novak Djokovic becomes autograph hunter on behalf of his kids, gets Venus Williams’ signature
Novak Djokovic the autograph hunter.
Rafael Nadal allays Covid-19 close contact fears after Matteo Berrettini’s Wimbledon withdrawal
“I feel very sorry for him because he was playing fantastic.”
Wimbledon day three: Follow the action from SW19 with Tennis365’s live scores and results centre here…
Catch the action from Wimbledon with our live scores and results centre…
Dan Evans to move on ‘pretty swiftly’ after Wimbledon exit: ‘It hurts. But I can have a party on my own’
Dan Evans suffered a straight-sets defeat.
Andy Murray signs up for Laver Cup as he joins ‘Europe’s Avengers’ alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
“Europe’s Avengers” squad features Andy Murray.
Wimbledon day two: Brits march on, ‘it’s just wow’ for Harmony Tan after Serena Williams win, Covid-19 fears
A look back at day two at Wimbledon.
Serena Williams remains coy about her future after Wimbledon exit: ‘Who knows where I’ll pop up’
Will we see Serena Williams at Wimbledon again?
Wimbledon TV, streaming info: How to watch Novak Djokovic, Emma Raducanu, Andy Murray matches
Your Wimbledon order of play, TV, streaming info.
Katie Boulter salutes British team spirit after stunning Wimbledon success
Katie Boulter helped British players to their best Wimbledon first round return in a quarter of a century.
What next for Serena Williams as she loses in the first round of Wimbledon?
Williams is facing fresh questions over her future in tennis after her much-hyped comeback ended in defeat.