“It’s feeling better all the time”, Andy Murray optimistic about hip ahead of his return to the tour in Washington

Leye Aduloju in ATP 29 Jul 2018
  • Andy Murray says his hip is 'feeling better all the time' ahead of his return to the tour in Washington.
  • Murray opens his Washington account on Monday, 31 July from 7:00pm local time/ 12:00am BST (Tuesday morning)
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Washington at bet365 > live streaming > tennis (geo restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify)
Andy Murray. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Former world number one, Andy Murray says his hip is feeling better as he prepares for a return to the tour in Washington on Monday.

After missing the second half of last season nursing a hip problem that had flared up at Wimbledon, Murray underwent surgery in January, and did not play again until Queen’s in June. The former world number one lost his comeback match against Nick Kyrgios, but the signs then were very good, as he showed no obvious physical impediments until later in the third set when he naturally got tired, having not played any tennis for almost a year. The Scot competed for a second straight week at Eastbourne, scoring a fine win over Stan Wawrinka before losing to compatriot, Kyle Edmund in the second round.

Murray’s participation at Queen’s and Eastbourne suggested that he would play Wimbledon, but the 31-year-old pulled out of the third Grand Slam of the year explaining that his body wasn’t quite ready for the rigors of a three-set match. The three-time major winner is now ready to go again, and he’s got some positive news on his problematic hip. 

“It’s feeling better all the time,” Murray said. “It takes time after you’ve been out for a long period to get the match sharpness back. I’ve only played three matches in the past year, so I’m just trying to get back on the match court as much as I can and see how I’m feeling after playing two, three, four, five matches in a week. That’s the big test. I’ve done a lot of training recently and I’ve come through that pretty well. So hopefully if I get into that situation, I’ll be alright.”

While Murray is optimistic about the state of his knee, he is naturally cautious on the eve of his return, noting the difference between practice sessions and real match situations, and the extra pressure a hard court exerts on the body, relative to natural surfaces.

“I’m feeling better than I did during the grass-court season, that’s for sure. But I also haven’t played a hard-court match since Indian Wells last year. That’s a long time,” Murray said. “I have to see how the body responds… [I’ve] felt pretty good in practice.”


Murray’s ranking has suffered greatly as a result of his inactivity. The Brit ascended to No. 1 for the first time following a superb end to 2016, and he held that position up until mid-August last year, but as he spent more time on the sideline, he cascaded down the ranking, and heads into Washington at a lowly 832nd in the world, and the 23rd-ranked player in Great Britain. That, of course, is an extremely skewed representation of the man’s ability, but the two-time Wimbledon champion isn’t too bothered about those numbers at the moment. The focus, he says, is to stay healthy for an extended period of time, then the ranking will take care of itself.

“I want to stay healthy through the end of the year. I think if I do that, then I’ll start to win more matches, my ranking will move up. If I only play one or two tournaments and then take a break for a month, it’s just difficult to get into that routine,” Murray said. “If I stay fit and healthy, I’m not worried so much about ranking. I want to be winning matches and competing against the best players and that will build my fitness up quicker than anything I could do in the gym. So that’s my goal between now and the end of the year and hopefully it’ll mean I’ll be ready to start the 2019 season really well.”

The 31-year-old has enjoyed contrasting fortunes in his previous two visits to Washington. He got to the final on debut in 2006, losing to Arnaud Clement in the championship match, and suffered an opening round exit to Teymuraz Gabashvili on his return in 2015. While his 2018 draw is not easy, it could have been worse, given his lowly ranking. The former world number has a very winnable opener against rising American, McKenzie McDonald, before a potential second-round meeting against compatriot, Kyle Edmund, in what would be a rematch of their Queen’s meeting. The other seeded players in Murray possible route to the semi-finals are Jeremy Chardy, Hyeon Chung and Steve Johnson- all of whom the Scot will like his chances against.

“I’ve enjoyed coming here. It’s a beautiful city. There’s a lot to do and see. The event itself has got great history,” said Murray. “I like the conditions here. It sets you up well for the rest of the U.S. summer. Unfortunately, last time I was here I didn’t play so well. Lost a tough one in my first match. So really hoping this time I could get a few more matches in.”

Andy Murray opens his Washington campaign on Monday when he takes on Mackenzie McDonald from 7:00pm local time/ 12:00am BST (Tuesday morning).

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“It’s feeling better all the time”, Andy Murray optimistic about hip ahead of his return to the tour in Washington

Andy Murray says his hip is 'feeling better all the time' ahead of his return to the tour in Washington.

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