I was astonished when one of the commentators at Murray’s first Wimbledon game this year told viewers that Murray was completely recovered from his hip injury and we could all stop talking about it. I was astonished because it was absolutely clear to me looking at Murray walk on to the court that he was in trouble. Before he had even warmed up for this first game of the tournament Murray was looking vulnerable. His hip was lopsided and there was a very slight limp as he walked. I could see it plainly but the commentator – himself a tennis player – couldn’t, or pretended he couldn’t. I knew then that Murray wouldn’t be in the final.
Turns out the hip problem is a chronic one and Murray has been getting by with injections. He now really only has a choice between surgery or a lengthy period of convalescence. I predict we’ll never see Murray in another final (or semi-final) but I hope I’m wrong*. Murray is only 30 years old but the wear and tear on that hip – and he’s already had surgery on his back – is not going away. Whether it's a labrum tear or full-on arthritis, no amount of massage will do anything about that, no injection will do anything more than get him through matches by hiding the pain. Convalescence will help but the problem will come back. Surgery might work but even that is likely to be a temporary fix.
Murray’s plight is a reminder to us lesser mortals that the body has its limits and our ambition can push us to great things but there comes a point when the body won’t bend to our will. We need to rest. As a therapist that is my first advice when people come to me with an injury or are physically exhausted. Take time off, rest the body, rest the mind. Give yourself a break. Watch some tennis.
* Update 4 January 2018 - Andy Murray pulls out of the Australian Open - regretfully, I now predict his tennis-playing career is over