Why Tennis No Longer Defines Andy Murray’s Happiness
Former World No. 1 Andy Murray did his best to push through pain for a long time before undergoing right hip surgery on 28 January. The Scot’s highest priority was always getting back on the court to compete. Not anymore.
“During the whole injury troubles that I’d been having, tennis was the most important thing to me and getting back on the tennis court is what was going to make me happy,” Murray said in an interview with Amazon Prime. “Ultimately, once I got rid of the pain and I started to enjoy doing other things, fun things with my friends and my family, I’m pretty relaxed about whether I get back on the court competing again or not. It would be nice to, but if I don’t, I’m okay with that as well.”
Murray is currently scheduled to return to action on the doubles court at the Fever-Tree Championships, set to partner Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. It’s been just more than two months since the 45-time tour-level singles titlist started hitting balls again.
“It’s been really good so far. The first I’d say six or seven weeks were pretty hard. It’s just uncomfortable, and then trying to exercise through that as well isn’t particularly nice,” Murray said. “I’d probably say from weeks eight and nine, it’s really started to go quite nicely and I’ve been able to do a lot of things I’ve not done for a really, really long time without pain like playing golf, even going and walking the dogs. It’s fun and enjoyable now, whereas it was pretty uncomfortable for a couple years.”
In some ways, life has been different for Murray. There’s been more PlayStation, and early wakeups when needed to help at home — the Scot has two daughters.
“When I can help with the 5 o’clock wakeups and stuff, it’s [been] nice having me around. But probably the rest of the time they’d like me out of the house,” Murray joked.
“Maybe it’s something that if I do get back to playing that I’d try to do a bit more of, is try to spend a bit more time out in the cities and seeing sites and exploring. We get to go to amazing places, some of the nicest cities in the world, and often we spend most of our time at the courts and practising and in hotel rooms having room service,” Murray said. “It’s not what people might imagine it to be if you’re doing everything properly. But I think that’s something that definitely if I get back to playing I would try to make sure I enjoy the cities a little bit more than what I did.”
Murray’s last singles match before going under the knife was a five-set epic against Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open that lasted more than four hours. Before the tournament, he had said it was possible that event would be his final one.
“In Australia, it was a tough time for me because I just didn’t know what the outcome of anything was going to be and [I had] the genuine feeling that I might not be playing again at that stage and a lot of the players around the Australian Open were really supportive and that was nice in what for me was quite a difficult time emotionally, mentally,” Murray said. “Since then, there have been a few players who have reached out from time to time in particular, kind of checking how I’m getting on.
“If the match I played in Australia was my last one, I mean, it would be an amazing way to finish as well. It was a great match, brilliant atmosphere. In a way it would have been a fitting end for me to finish that way because I did sort of struggle.”
While Murray isn’t entirely clear on what the future holds, he’s most thrilled that he physically feels better than he has in years. And if he is able to progress from doubles to singles, he won’t carry the same mentality to the court.
“If I do come back to play, I’m going to have a completely different perspective on things for sure than what I had for most of my career. It will be very different and I would want to enjoy it a lot more than what I did and experience different things and not just concentrate on the winning and success. That was what I was always basing success on,” Murray said. “I realise now that that isn’t actually the most important thing, which has taken quite a lot of years of playing the sport and going through a lot of ups and downs to realise that. I’d be okay with not playing again as well.”