Andy Murray reveals how doctor’s ‘smug comment’ about his career being all but over motivated him
Andy Murray has revealed how a smug comment from a doctor after his hip operation acted as motivation to return to professional tennis.
Murray is set to play his first singles tournament at a grand slam since having a metal plate inserted into his joint in January 2019 when he takes to the Arthur Ashe court at the US Open on Tuesday to play Yoshihito Nishioka.
His presence in New York marks the end of a long road, which began way back in 2017 when the then world number one sustained the hip injury that derailed his career.
It was after he hobbled out of Wimbledon that a surgeon told him his professional career was over, but Murray refused to give up the ghost, even if he needed a drastic hip resurfacing operation 18 months later.
There were no guarantees that he would return to the elite level after such invasive surgery, but meeting the same doctor who had written him off gave him the fire to succeed.
“There is one person in particular that helped me,” Murray explained. “It was the doctor/surgeon who told me after Wimbledon in 2017 that I didn’t have long left and you could have surgery – resurfacing or hip replacement – but you won’t play professional sport again.
“It was weird timing, I actually bumped into him the morning after I had my hip resurfacing when I took my first steps on the new hip with the crutches.
“And he walked past me in the hallway and he smiled at me and said to my wife, ‘I told him he was going to have to do this’.
“It just really got me. I was not happy. I would say that was the thing that gave me the biggest motivation because at that moment I had obviously been going through a difficult time, had the operation and I felt that there was a bit of smugness to what he told me.
“That was kind of enough for me. And I was actually going to send him a bottle of wine to say thanks for the motivation once I had got back on the court competing again but I haven’t brought myself to do that yet.”
The doctor should not cop too much flak for his 2017 diagnosis as Murray announced his intention to retire just prior to the 2019 Australian Open, before opting for the hip resurfacing.
When he lost to Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round, the Scot was already thinking about having the operation, but did not think it would be possible to play at a grand slam again.
“If you had asked me the day after I had the operation, I was in bits and would have said no,” he confessed. “For the few weeks afterwards, definitely I would have said not.
“But with each month that passed, yes I started to believe. I was a bit p****d off I wasn’t allowed to play singles at Wimbledon that year even though it was only a few months after I had the operation because actually I was feeling good physically in terms of no pain.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 22, 2020
“I didn’t really know until I started playing practice sets post Wimbledon and beat a few guys in practice in Washington – I was playing a few guys in practice sets there. I went to Canada and beat some good players in practice sets there. I was like, ‘OK, I think I am going to be alright here’.
“It was probably not until I got back on the tour and played guys in singles that I actually really believed it. That was probably a good four or five months later.
“But certainly at the time, pre-surgery and post-surgery, no I didn’t think I would be able to. But that is because I was told that I wouldn’t.
“(I was) told that if you have this operation there is a good chance you are not going to be able to play high-level singles again. And I didn’t have anyone else to look at. I was going into the dark a little bit.”
Follow us on Twitter @T365Official.
Novak Djokovic news: BBC report ‘casts doubt’ over timing of positive test
The story behind Novak Djokovic’s attempts to…
Australian Open news: Daniil Medvedev wants to halt history against Rafael Nadal
Daniil Medvedev overcame a mid-match meltdown to…
Rafael Nadal news: John McEnroe leads tributes as Spaniard reaches Australian Open final
Victory in Sunday’s final will take Nadal ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the race to secure the most major titles in tennis.
Matteo Berrettini news: Italian has heart warming conversation with Nadal after Australian Open loss
Matteo Berrettini is learning form Rafael Nadal.
Rafael Nadal news: Spain’s Raging Bull breaks down as he reflects on emotional moment
Rafael Nadal explains the difficulties he had through his career.
Rafael Nadal news: Playing final again feels like a miracle for the Spaniard
Rafael Nadal is one win away from a 21 Grand Slam tittle.
Ashleigh Barty news: Local hero carries hopes of a nation in Australian Open final
Barty will take on American Danielle Collins in a Melbourne showdown on Saturday.
Rafael Nadal news: Spaniard through to the Australian Open final
Rafael Nadal is set to win his 21 Grand Slam title.
Australian Open news: Crowds increased to 80 per cent for the finals
Almost full stadium for the Australian Open finals.
Ashleigh Barty news: How Ben Crowe played a huge role in Barty’s mental strength
Ashleigh Barty is mentally ready for Saturday.