Andy Murray withdraws from Wimbledon to continue recovery from hip surgery
The 31-year-old will begin practising on hard courts on Monday in a bid to be fit for the US Open
By Joe Shread
Last Updated: 01/07/18 10:48pm
Andy Murray has withdrawn from Wimbledon on the eve of the tournament as he continues to recover from hip surgery.
The two-time champion made his long-awaited competitive return after nearly a year out at Queen's earlier this month, before reaching the second round at Eastbourne this week.
However, Murray has decided he is not yet ready to play best-of-five-set matches after so long out of the sport. He said: "It's with regret I'm withdrawing from Wimbledon.
"I've made significant progress in practice and matches over the last 10 days but, after lengthy discussions with my team and with a heavy heart, we've decided that playing best-of-five-set matches might be a bit too soon in the recovery process.
"We did everything we could to try to be ready in time. I will start practising on the hard courts from tomorrow and continuing with my rehab and recovery and I'm looking forward to the US hard-court season.
"Thanks for all the messages of support and I'm excited to finally be back playing after so long out."
He also revealed last year's Wimbledon, when his hip problems first began to show and he limped his way to the quarter-finals, played on his mind.
"When I was getting asked about certain things, it was just quite unknown," he said. "I didn't know how I was going to respond to playing five-set matches. I went through a similar situation last year when I went into Wimbledon.
"I didn't feel good before Wimbledon last year but decided to play. I know how that ended up. There was a bit of that in the back of my mind as well, thinking: 'Let's sure make sure I don't make a mistake'.
"I've made progress in the last month, which hadn't really been the case for the last 10 or 11 months. I was going in the right direction. I would have been putting myself in a situation that I haven't been able to replicate in training or in practice recently. Which is a maybe a bit unnecessary to do that at this stage."
The first signs that something was amiss came when Murray was absent from the practice schedule on Sunday, but he added: "I didn't have any setbacks in practice.
"It's been a positive 10 days, two weeks. I decided to play at Queen's. Considering the circumstances, I think I competed pretty well against the level of opposition that I was up against. Also in practices, it's not like guys have been killing me and I've been completely off the pace.
"But I also know how I felt after the match with Nick [Kyrgios], too, so there was a bit of that in the back of my mind, thinking, 'If I played a five-set match and it was four hours, how am I going to feel?' Nobody can guarantee that I'm going to wake up and feel great.
"What I didn't want to do was to start the tournament, potentially win my first match, and then withdraw because I didn't feel good. I didn't feel that was the right thing to do, either.
"I didn't feel like I was going to win the tournament. I didn't feel I was going to do extremely well in the tournament. There were just so many unknowns. They were all signs that it was maybe not the right thing to do.
"It's been hard because I really wanted to play. Once you get back on the match court, you don't want to be taking what feels like a bit of a step back in some ways."
Wimbledon begins on Monday and Murray - whose injury absence meant he was not seeded - was drawn to play Benoit Paire in the first round.
Britain's best hope in the men's singles draw is now the No 1 Kyle Edmund. The 23-year-old is seeded 21st for the tournament, but has never progressed beyond the second round. He opens his campaign against Australian world No 105, Alex Bolt.
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