It will be not be a surprise to anyone to learn that now his Wimbledon is over, Andy Murray plans to get down to work almost immediately.
Murray’s hopes of winning the mixed doubles title with Serena Williams ended with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 defeat against the No 1 seeds, Bruno Soares of Brazil and the American Nicole Melichar, but the two former champions got what they wanted out of the tournament: for Williams, more matches as she tries to equal Margaret Court’s all-time grand slam singles titles record of 24; for Murray, more evidence his modified right hip will enable him to return to the singles court at some stage later this year.
When exactly that will be remains to be seen but listening as Murray laid out his rough training schedule for the next couple of months, it seemed obvious the US Open will come too soon. Instead, perhaps the Murray Trophy, a Challenger Tour event named in the family’s name, to be held in Glasgow in late September, may be a gentler, less pressured reintroduction to the tour.
From his victory with Feliciano López at Queen’s last month to his efforts at Wimbledon over the past week or so, he has learned a lot about what he needs to do in the coming months if he is to have the chance to return to somewhere near the level that secured three grand slam singles titles, two Olympic gold medals, a Davis Cup and the No 1 ranking.
“I think I achieved a lot,” Murray said. “I think, considering the lack of matches, I did OK. The most positive thing is that my body felt good. My hip anyway was feeling good, so that was positive. It’s a lot of physical work now trying to get stronger really, get a good balance with all of the kind of muscles around my hip. I think I’m doing some physical testing next week. I did some pre-Queen’s.
“It will be interesting to see what’s happened these last four weeks where I’ve been obviously playing tennis but doing not much training, to see how things have progressed or not. Then I’ll kind of do … four to six weeks of training. Then I’ll have some testing done after that again. Hopefully I will have progressed again. But I’ve still got, like I said, quite a long way to go.”
Murray and Williams did well to force Soares and Melichar to a third set but the top seeds were too sharp, especially at the start of the decider, and were deserving winners.
The Murray-Williams pairing – Murena or SerAndy, depending on your point of view – has captured the imagination of the crowd and even as they left No 2 Court, they were happy to stand among the throngs of people and sign plenty of autographs, smiling for the cameras.
The worry when a player is out for a sustained period of time is that the tour will have moved on by the time they come back. Murray’s style of play, based on his athleticism and defensive qualities, puts a lot of strain on his body and convention would suggest that if he does play singles again maybe he will need to become more aggressive and shorten the points. Murray is not so sure.
“I would like to play the way I always played because it’s been successful,” he said. “I think you need to always try to find that balance. I could go out and serve and volley every point, keep points short, lose in the first round every week. Then I’d be getting killed when I came in here [to his press conference] for losing in the first round every week.
“You need to find the right way of playing that would be good for your body but also allows you to be competitive and win matches. I’ll only really know once I get back out there and start doing it, [if] there’s things I need to change and adapt.”
The next few weeks should give Murray a good idea of the point his comeback has reached.
Wimbledon planning Murray statue – when he retires
Wimbledon are working on a statue of Andy Murray for when he retires, chairman Philip Brook has revealed.
Chief executive Richard Lewis said in January after Murray raised the possibility of his imminent retirement that Wimbledon would honour the Scot in the same way as Fred Perry, whose bust is outside Centre Court.
Speaking to a group of reporters in the All England Club boardroom, Brook said: “What we don’t want to do is retire him too early. Our thought all along is that we want to recognise Andy’s significant achievements here at Wimbledon in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time.
“We think an appropriate time is to unveil something when he retires. We are working on it. We have done some work already on it and there is still more work to do.”