Tennis Expert & Columnist
Andy Murray will leave no stone unturned as he considers hip surgery, says Barry Cowan
"Everything that I've heard and seen in Abu Dhabi last week - he's nowhere near fit - and I was actually surprised that he actually went down to Brisbane"
Last Updated: 03/01/18 6:03am
Barry Cowan believes Andy Murray will leave "no stone unturned" as he tries to avoid surgery to treat his long-term hip problem.
The former world No 1 pulled out of the Brisbane International on Tuesday as the injury that has sidelined him since Wimbledon was still causing him pain.
The 30-year-old revealed his frustrations with the problem that has put a hold on his career and admitted he may have to go under the knife, while his participation at the Australian Open, which starts on January 15, is in serious doubt.
Murray says he will decide by the weekend whether to stay in Australia or fly home to assess his next move. If it is the latter, the Brit could opt for surgery, which he had tried to avoid.
"First of all you really feel for him for what he's going through because he's absolutely desperate to get back. The motivation is as big as ever and what's stopping him is his body," said Sky Sports' analyst, Cowan.
"Everything that I've heard and seen in Abu Dhabi last week - he's nowhere near fit - and I was actually surprised that he actually went down to Brisbane.
"Really now, he's got to take very careful consideration about what the next step is and obviously he touched on surgery. No tennis player wants to go down that route, but he still wants to play.
"If he still wants to play, he's still got the motivation, then that's more than half the battle. Let's hope that the next step will be very carefully thought out, which it will be with Murray because he leaves no stone unturned, and we can see him on court soon."
It seems almost inevitable he's not going to play the Australian Open. Why would you play in the first Grand Slam of the year when you're not fit 10 days before to play in Brisbane?
Murray, who started 2017 as the world No 1, limped through his Wimbledon campaign having first felt the hip problem during the French Open, and has since slipped down to 16th in the rankings during his long absence.
His only public on-court appearances since then have been exhibitions against Roger Federer in November and Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in Abu Dhabi on Friday, when he looked far from 100 per cent as he lost 6-2.
In an Instagram post, Murray wrote: "I choose this pic as the little kid inside me just wants to play tennis and compete. I genuinely miss it so much and I would give anything to be back out there. I didn't realise until these last few months just how much I love this game."
Hey everyone.. Just wanted to write a little message on here for anyone interested in what in going through right now. Firstly I want to apologise to @brisbanetennis for withdrawing at late notice and to everyone who wanted to come along to watch me play(or lose😇) The organisers couldn't have been more understanding and supportive and I'll always remember that. Thank you. I've obviously been going through a really difficult period with my hip for a long time and have sought council from a number of hip specialists. Having been recommended to treat my hip conservatively since the US Open I have done everything asked of me from a rehab perspective and worked extremely hard to try get back on the court competing. Having played practice sets here in Brisbane with some top players unfortunately this hasn't worked yet to get me to the level I would like so I have to reassess my options. Obviously continuing rehab is one option and giving my hip more time to recover. Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as I high as I would like which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that. However this is something I may have to consider but let's hope not. I choose this pic as the little kid inside me just wants to play tennis and Compete.. I genuinely miss it so much and i would give anything to be back out there. I didn't realise until these last few months just how much I love this game. Everytime I wake up from sleeping or napping i hope that it's better and it's quite demoralising when you get on the court it's not at the level you need it to be to compete at this level. In the short term I'm going to be staying in Australia for the next couple of days to see if my hip settles down a bit and will decide by the weekend whether to stay out here or fly home to assess what I do next. Sorry for the long post but I wanted to keep everyone in the loop and get this off my chest as it's really hurting inside. Hope to see you back on the court soon 🎾😢❤️
And Cowan admitted his message would have "touched" many people and showed just how much he truly misses the sport.
"His message touched me and I'm sure it touched a lot of people," he said. "We often talk about money that sports people earn, but it goes beyond that because all these top guys are still competing because they want to be the best they can be. It's sheer determination to get every little bit out of their ability that they can and that's why they have been at the top.
"Sometimes you take it for granted and it's only when you take a step away and you realise actually 'you know what, I'm really lucky. I'm doing something that I really enjoy, I'm doing something that I'm really good at' and obviously Murray clearly misses it and why wouldn't you when you're as good as he is.
"I would want to see him back on court nearly fully fit and not 50 or 40 or 30 per cent fit at the Australian Open.
"The hip injury is not breaking news. We knew it was serious and now it's two days into the New Year. The news is pointing towards an operation. That's the last resort for anyone, but he wants to get back playing, so that really is looking like his only option.
"It seems almost inevitable he's not going to play the Australian Open. Why would you play in the first Grand Slam of the year when you're not fit 10 days before to play in Brisbane?"
Barry Cowan was speaking to Sky Sports' Raz Mirza from Doha. We will be covering the Australian Open from all angles on www.skysports.com/tennis with news, previews, live blogs, reports and expert analysis.
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