Tennis news - Andy Murray has further hip surgery in bid to save career

'I now have a metal hip!' - Murray has further surgery in bid to save career

29/01/2019 at 20:03Updated 29/01/2019 at 23:18

Andy Murray has undergone hip resurfacing surgery in London, a decision that could yet save the three-times Grand Slam champion's career.

Murray revealed he was in constant pain before he played an epic match with Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open, losing in five sets despite being forced to battle through the pain barrier in coming from two sets down in the Melbourne heat.

He had hinted at retirement before the exhausting 4-6 4-6 7-6 7-6 2-6 defeat as a result of 18 months of battling the injury that began with him breaking down during his quarter-final defeat to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon in July 2017.

He went under the knife again a year after his first hip operation in Australia last January, a decision that failed to prevent him from missing most of last year including Wimbledon and the US Open where he won his three major titles.

The Olympic champion confirmed the surgery has been carried out to end his ongoing pain in his right hip.

"I underwent a hip resurfacing surgery in London yesterday morning..feeling a bit battered and bruised just now but hopefully that will be the end of my hip pain," said the former world number one on Instagram. Murray also posted an X-ray picture of his hip with an metal implant inserted.

"I now have a metal hip as you can see in the 2nd photo, and I look like I've got a bit of a gut in photo 1."

Surgery could yet provide the scope for a comeback. Murray has been boosted by tennis doubles legend Bob Bryan, who returned to action at the Australian Open. Aged 40, Bryan reached the quarter-finals of the men's doubles only five months after having the same operation.

"Seeing the way Andy Murray is feeling kind of hit a nerve with me," said Bryan. "I would love to see him do a similar surgery, feel the relief that it gives. I think our hips are pretty similar: just worn down, no cartilage."

Murray, 31, has sought advice from Bryan on how the metal implant in his hip feels after practice sessions and matches with his brother and doubles partner Mike.

The demands of men's singles tennis at the top level is more demanding than doubles, but Bryan's comments have given Murray fresh hopes that he can continue competing.

"I never once told him this is the way to go because I do see that singles is a different monster," said Bryan. "Those guys are really sliding around, killing themselves for four hours. Who knows if this joint would hold up.

"It's not going to break, but who knows if you have that little explosiveness needed to be super quick on the singles court. If you're a step slow, it's very exposed out there on a singles court."

"I'm just telling him, I feel great, quality of life is great, practices are going well. Maybe I'm not 100 per cent yet, but I'm only five months. The doctors said this is more of like a seven or eight months until you feel perfect.

"Until I feel that, I can't give you the guarantee, but I think he's to the point where this is probably his last option."

Six-times Grand Slam winner and Eurosport expert Boris Becker hopes Murray can recover to finish his career on his terms.

"I really wish he's not forced (to retire) because of an injury, I think that's the worst for an athlete," said Becker.

"If there's a possibility medically to get better so he can finish on his own terms, it's vital for him and maybe the rest of his life. Because you'll have a big chip on your shoulder."

Murray, who pulled out of next month's Marseille Open, said after his Melbourne defeat that he would decide whether to have further surgery or push on through the pain to bid farewell at Wimbledon, where he has won two titles.

However, Becker urged the Scot to abandon retirement plans.

"Yes he's been fighting it for 18 months and he's tried everything, but we're in 2019, there are new treatments for every type of injury, you just have to find the right doctors."