Can Murray return to the top of the game?

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The current state of affairs for Sir Andy Murray

Former great Andy Murray now sits outside the world top 100. He has won three Grand Slam tournaments in his career, reached the dizzying heights of world number 1 and played in some of the best tennis matches I have ever seen. He was a true gladiator back then, although as you may know he has been plagued with injuries over the past few years.

The biggest and most important of all these surgeries was the complete hip repair he received a few years ago. He had hoped that this operation would allow him to resume playing painlessly, which he has to some extent. But undoubtedly, his injuries hampered his movement on the pitch, the power of his punches and his ability to perform back-to-back grueling performances.

I have watched him closely for the past 12 months, and unfortunately I don’t think he can go back. I have no doubt he can still play phenomenal tennis, and yes I think he can beat some of the best guys in his day. But it’s the replication that seems to me to be the real issue, which is why I don’t think it can go back to where it once was.

Reasons why …

Before going through the three reasons why, I would like to state that I would absolutely love Murray to prove me wrong! I’m a Murray fan and his tennis is a pleasure to watch when he’s in good shape. That said, here are three major hurdles preventing it from reaching the same heights it was all those years ago:

Intensity of the game

At the highest level, men’s play has never been so intense. Just watch matches like Nadal against Djokovic at the French Open 2021 or Djokovic against Zverev and the US Open 2021! The brutality of the game is astounding, and I just feel like he can’t hang out with these guys anymore – not over and over again anyway. It would just put too much pressure on his body, and ultimately the physicality would be a major issue.

The results of the tour

To get back to the top of the game, Murray would have to consistently perform at the highest level, week after week. It involves tough matches against the best in the world at various levels including 500’s, 1000’s and of course Grand Slam tournaments. He’s no longer a young man, let’s face it. And while I have no doubt that the motivation is there, playing so many tournaments would also have a huge impact on his body.

Emerging talents

As with any sport, the circle of life is that the greats of the game eventually retire and new talent shines through. We’ve already seen these emerging talents in 2021, with guys like Alcaraz, Rublev, Medvedev, Musetti and so many more. These guys are already playing with such skill and intensity, and they will only get better. Murray, on the other hand, will likely struggle to maintain such a level in the long term.


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