Andy Murray admitted he is becoming demoralised after sustaining a groin strain in his sleep which ruled him out of his latest tournament.
Tuesday’s sudden withdrawal from the Miami Open is just the latest mishap in a year that is fast becoming a tale of woe, as he tries to forge a comeback despite having a metal hip.
Five times this season he has pulled out of events, for reasons ranging from a change of mind, to a positive Covid test to the birth of his fourth child.
Andy Murray admits being ‘really gutted’ that he will miss the Miami Open with a groin injury
ANDY MURRAY’S 2021 WOES SO FAR
ATP Delray Beach Open (Florida): Gave back wildcard after opting to stay in England
Australian Open: Unable to take up wildcard after travel problems caused by positive Covid test
Biella Challenger 1 (Italy): Took wildcard and reached final
Biella Challenger 2: Took wildcard but withdrew late after changing his mind
ATP Montpellier Open: Took wildcard and lost 1st round
ATP Rotterdam Open: Took wildcard and made 2nd round
ATP Dubai Championships: Took wildcard but withdrew due to birth of fourth child
ATP Miami Open: Took wildcard but withdrew due to soreness in the groin
Add to that now what he described as a ‘freak’ occurrence which rendered worthless his trip to Florida, to play a tournament he has won twice before.
Inevitably it further promotes the question of whether his body will ever again withstand the strains of top level singles tennis.
All had appeared well when he went to bed on Friday night, after arriving at his downtown apartment last Wednesday.
‘I woke up in the middle of the night at about 230, rolled over and felt like my groin was a bit sore,’ he recounted.
‘When I got up at 6 in the morning to go to the toilet, I was in a lot of pain walking. I have no idea what happened. My physios don’t really understand it either. I felt good and travelled over here, practised and had no issues, and then this happened.
‘It is obviously very frustrating and a bit demoralising. It’s gutting. All of the indications with the gym work and training that I’m doing suggest that I’m fine, but then I keep getting these things.’
It will be four years this summer since his hip problems first manifested themselves. He conceded that the thought of more weeks of mind-numbing recovery work fills him with dread.
‘I can’t be bothered doing another eight or 10 weeks of rehab. The reason I am doing all of that stuff is to get back on the court and compete.
‘It’s hard work and now I am finding it harder to get motivated to do all the rehab if I’m not going to be able to compete in the biggest events. This one was like, f***ing hell, just give me a break for this one event so that I can see what I am still able to do.’
Murray (pictured in Rotterdam earlier this month) revealed the injury happened in his sleep
While reporting that he was feeling much improved in the last 48 hours he will now have scans to investigate the problem. Then he will form a plan for a segment of the season dominated by clay, his least favoured surface.
Given that hips, lower back and groin tend to be inter-connected he must hope for the best while perhaps fearing the worst.
His absence is another blow to a prestigious tournament that is already missing a host of stars. This year an isolated event in the US, and with severely reduced prize money, it is the first time since 2004 that a Masters level event has been held without any of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
It is an important few days for the rest of the British contingent, with 19-year-old Jack Draper given a main draw wildcard as he seeks to restore what has been stalled progress over the past year. He faces former top 40 player Mikhail Kukushkin.
Amid a stronger women’s field, Jo Konta is finally reunited this week with French coach Dmitri Zavialoff, who stood down from travelling after her successful 2019 season due to an illness in his family.
Murray’s withdrawal is a blow and it is also the first time since 2004 that a Masters level event has been held without any of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic involved