Former British player Tim Henman believes three-time Grand Slam Andy Murray still has the desire and motivation to return to the ATP circuit. Back in Grand Slam action at this year’s US Open after a long injury-induced hiatus, Murray failed to progress beyond the second round. Since then, Murray hasn’t featured in any of the calendar ATP events.
His absence from the circuit has raised questions on whether he still has the hunger to carry on.
Marking his return to the circuit from a hip resurfacing surgery last year, Murray won the European Open in Antwerp. However, a fresh hip injury early this year and the COVID-19 pandemic thereafter forced him back on the sidelines.
His wretched run at the US Open and lack of action since has fueled fresh chatter on his future.
Seven matches was all that Murray could pack in this Covid-curtailed year. However, Henman believes Murray still has plenty of fire in his belly.
Speaking to PA news agency, the six-time Grand Slam semi-finalist said, “He’s had an incredibly difficult last three years, trying to fight his way back from his hip injury.”
“There are signs that he is making improvements and then he has another little setback,” Henman, now a television expert, said.
“He will be desperately keen to get back to playing but he has just got to build up his strength and stamina and hopefully competing on a consistent basis,” Henman said.
Henman said Murray still has the game to beat any top player on his day. However, he said the question is whether, at 33, he can recover from tough matches.
“The tennis level is still there, it is just whether his body can maintain,” Henman said. “We saw him beat (Alexander) Zverev, who went on to get to the US Open final. So Andy is still capable of playing great tennis, but that is not his challenge.”
“It is the challenge of being able to put in the work on the practice court and being able to play these tough matches and recover to be ready,” Henman said.
He said he had a word with Murray’s coach, who said he is still showing enthusiasm during practice sessions.
“I was speaking to his coach Jamie Delgado and he mentioned his discipline and hunger and desire is amazing because these elements of the rehab are not the enjoyable bits,” Henman said.