Andy Murray made his return to Wimbledon for the 2021 tournament after a four-year absence. The two-time champion at the All England Club was plagued with a troublesome hip injury that ruled him out of action for a considerable period of time.
The ailment became so severe that the Scot was forced to have his hip replaced with a metal frame. He made sporadic appearances at the Grand Slams elsewhere in the world but progressed only to the second round in his best performances.
Hope At Wimbledon
There were fears that Murray’s tennis days were over. However, he made himself available for the 2021 Wimbledon competition, though he was far from a leading contender in the tennis betting odds for the crown. The Scot rolled back the years to defeat 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round in four sets.
Oscar Otte proved a tougher task in the second round as the German secured a 2-1 lead and appeared destined to advance ahead of Murray. The former world number one displayed his resilience under pressure to win back-to-back sets to continue his journey at the All England Club. He seems, once again, a player to look out for in the tennis tips for major competitions.
Denis Shapovalov lay in wait in the third round. It was clear that the five-set contest in the previous game had taken a great deal out of Murray. He was unable to compete against the Canadian, who eased his way into the second week of the competition with a straight-sets victory.
Although his tournament ended prematurely, Murray will have been delighted to have reached the third round given his lack of game time on the court, especially on grass. It had been four years since his last action when he lost out to Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals at the start of his decline in health.
Learning From The Best
He may need to take inspiration from the other modern-day greats of the game. Novak Djokovic underwent an elbow operation that disrupted his peak form over a two-year spell between 2016 and 2018.
The Serb appeared to have reached the pinnacle of his game after beating Murray in the French Open in 2016. He began to have issues with his elbow after a third-round defeat to Querry at Wimbledon, although he then reached the final of the 2016 US Open where he lost out Stan Wawrinka.
His issues increased ten-fold in 2017 when he failed to reach the last four of any slam and suffered a second-round exit at the Australian Open, where he had been nothing short of imperious in his previous years. He underwent surgery after being forced to miss the US Open.
It took time for Djokovic to return to his best, and he went under the radar at 2018 Wimbledon as the 12th seed to surge all the way to the final to claim the crown for the fourth time. The rest is history, as he has been dominant on the court ever since, and currently stands at 4/9 in the odds to take the title as the Wimbledon men’s winner.
Rafael Nadal also battled injuries and a lack of form over a two-year period. The Spaniard was plagued with ankle, knee, and even wrist problems after a brilliant nine-year stretch at the top of the game. He failed to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 2015 and matters were even worse in 2016 as he failed to progress beyond the fourth round.
Nadal himself was disconsolate with his form and fitness but persevered and reached the final of the Australian Open in 2017. Although he lost to Djokovic, it gave him a shot in the arm to regain his confidence.
Can Murray Do It?
Murray’s injury is arguably more severe than what Djokovic and Nadal were forced to contend with. A large portion of his game was built around his movement on the court, while even groundstrokes put a lot of pressure in the hip area.
Murray has the tenacity and determination at his disposal, but at the age of 34, time and his recently recovered hip injury are against him returning to the peak of his game.