Andy Murray will do everything he can to professionally work on his hip and make some kind of return to tennis after revealing that he underwent surgery in London on Monday.
The twice Wimbledon champion revealed that, as expected, he has gone through a ‘hip resurfacing’ operation following his dramatic five set match at the Australian Open, and prior admission that the pain had become overwhelming.
It is understood the procedure was similar to that performed in August on American doubles specialist Bob Bryan, who has returned to the tour this month at the age of 40.
Andy Murray has undergone hip surgery in a bid to resolve his ongoing issues
Murray shared this picture of his X-ray on Tuesday morning – showing his new metal right hip
He had the operation after the Australian Open – where he bowed out of the first round
HIP RESURFACING SURGERY – WHAT IS IT?
An alternative to a hip replacement, it involves removing the damaged surfaces of the bones inside the hip joint and replacing them with a metal surface.
An advantage to this approach is that it removes less bone. However, resurfacing is much less popular now due to concerns about the metal surface causing damage to soft tissues around the hip.
‘I have a metal hip. Feeling a bit battered and bruised but hopefully that will be the end of my hip pain,’ posted Murray on his Instagram account.
While it is way too early to predict what will happen now, Murray plans to leave no stone unturned in seeing how far he might be able to go physically, once his body has settled down after the surgery. At the very least, he expects his overall quality of life to improve.
In Australia Bryan gave chapter and verse on his own experience, and admitted that for the first eight weeks he did not go flat out to rehab the affected area. That is not an approach that will be replicated by the 31 year-old Scot.
Bryan gave his timeline of what had happened in his own personal case, saying: ‘I had the surgery on August 2, I was on crutches a couple of days later. I was at the US Open three weeks after surgery with a cane. At the end of September I was just hitting some light balls. We started our training December 5, when we started hitting some balls pretty hard, playing some sets.’
Of course that can only be taken as a very rough guide to what might happen with Murray, as no two hip injuries are the same and singles is more taxing physically than doubles.
Murray’s mum, Judy, posted this picture on Twitter accompanied with the love heart emoji
ANDY MURRAY’S PLAYING HONOURS
2x Wimbledon (2013, 2016)
1x US Open (2012)
2x Olympic golds (2012, 2016)
1x ATP Tour Finals (2016)
Overall career titles: 45
Highest ranking: 1 (November 7, 2016)
Career prize money: £46.4million
What can be said was that in the colder light of day it was felt by some close to the Scot that, in his highly charged frame of mind around the start of the Australian Open, his press conferences took on something of a life of their own.
The sense of finality was added to by the video tribute at the end of his five-set match against Roberto Bautista Agut. It was not solicited by the player himself, but the tournament felt it an appropriate way to mark things in light of his public words.
There can be no doubt that Murray would want to make another appearance at Wimbledon, but it would be very premature to say whether Tuesday’s operation would allow him to do this, or more, at such an early stage. As with his whole career, he will seek to maximise his chances of a favourable outcome.
While Bryan recommended his American specialist Edwin Su, Murray elected to have the surgery in London, a year and 20 days after he underwent his first hip operation in Melbourne. His management declined to say where this was done.
Murray’s last match was that first-round defeat by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut
Murray fell at the first hurdle at the Australian Open despite an almighty five-set battle
Murray waves goodbye to the Australian Open crowd, but will be desperate to return again
The 31-year-old was given a rapturous reception during his Australian Open first-round clash
Support inside the Melbourne Arena was evident – as this banner showed for the British legend
EXPERT OPINION ON MURRAY’S HIP SURFACING SURGERY
Ian Holloway, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Bupa Cromwell Hospital, told Sportsmail that hip resurfacing would have a high chance of enabling Murray to do day-to-day movements like putting on his shoes without pain. He said that if the 31-year-old Scot went down that route, he could realistically expect to be able to play tennis recreationally – perhaps hitting a ball around with his daughters as they grow up – and could even coach tennis.
‘The most likely injury that Murray would have had is in the structure around the hip joint called the labrum, which is the cartilage that protects the edge of the socket.
‘Murray has been treated by one of the world’s experts in hip arthroscopy [Dr John O’Donnell], he is regarded to be one of the main men. But despite that, Murray is obviously still having problems.
‘Resurfacing is a type of hip replacement that tends to be offered for patients who have arthritis, which is one of the potential consequences of labral problems. The fact he is now talking about resurfacing suggests that is now the case.
‘Having a hip resurfacing would hopefully enable patients to get back to day-to-day life without pain, that is the prime reason for doing it. If patients have pain walking around, then resurfacing would aim to treat that. In around 90 per cent of cases that is the case. We know from experience with hip replacements in general that it is a very successful procedure.
‘As he himself said in his press conference, one wouldn’t expect patients to get back to a high level of competitive sport. You would expect patients to be able to play non-competitive sports, such as tennis and golf. Most people wouldn’t recommend that he were to go back to professional tennis, but coaching would be a likely level. I think it is a reasonable aspiration that he could knock a ball around the court with his children. Jumping and road running would not be advisable due to the impact.’
Another well-known figure in tennis to have had a similar procedure carried out is former Wimbledon semi-finalist and Olympic singles silver medallist Tim Mayotte, who reached also reached the quarter-finals on four other occasions at SW19.
Still an active coach with his own academy in Massachusets, Mayotte said he had no direct knowledge of Murray’s condition but told Sportsmail: ‘The resurfacing is a way to do a replacement while being able to maintain full load carrying capacity. It is usually done on men 55 and younger and because you need a high level of bone density. The ball at the top of femur is kept instead of replaced. I have had no pain.’
Meanwhile Stephen Farrow, Tournament Director of the Fever Tree Championships at Queen’s Club – where Murray is a five times champion – expressed the hope that he might yet back.
‘We will always have a special bond with him,’ said Farrow. ‘Andy has a career-long commitment to play at the Fever-Tree Championships, and we hope that he is fit enough to join what will be a world-class line-up of players in June. Whatever happens, we are right behind him as he rehabilitates from surgery, and wish him nothing but the best.’
Murray pictured with his now-wife Kim following his Wimbledon triumph in 2013
The couple got married in 2015 and have two young children — Sophia and Edie
HIP RESURFACING SURGERY Q&A
What is hip resurfacing?
Hip resurfacing is a type of hip replacement, and the two procedures are very similar. The joint is removed surgically using a special instrument, and replaced with a metal implant (in most cases). The difference is that less bone is removed from the femoral side of the hip joint in hip resurfacing.
How long does surgery take?
What is the recovery time?
Patients are encouraged to take a few steps on the day of surgery, and will typically be released from hospital after three days. They will then spend a number of weeks on crutches, and should be able to walk without crutches after four to six weeks. They can then usually get back to activities after a few months.
Who typically has hip resurfacing?
It is a procedure that tends to be used for younger males (aged under 55) who are perhaps experiencing arthritis as a result of problems with a cartilage in the hip called the labrum. There is a potential issue with females, and the advice is that it is an unsuitable procedure for women.