Andy Murray - Giving a tough fight to opponents despite having a metal hip

Andy Murray crashed out of the first round of the 2021 US Open as he lost in five tough sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas but it underlined the legend of the British Tennis player.

Andy Murray in a file photo. (Image credit: Twitter)

Imagine one is in so much pain that he cannot even get up. He is struggling to walk in such a way that taking even basic steps is proving to be an issue. Despite this, he is continuing to play Tennis, one of the most physical sports in history. Arms, shoulders, wrists, neck, hip, hamstring, knees, ankles, heel are all employed in getting through a basic Tennis game. Out of all the body parts, the hip is the most important aspect of the game as it determines the motion of the game.

Now, imagine the player is being fitted with a metal hip due to surgery. That itself means the players ability is restricted. Yet, he pushes a player, 10 years his junior and an upcoming Tennis champion to the hilt. That was the situation confronting Andy Murray, the British Tennis champion in his first-round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the US Open.

Murray stretched Tsitsipas to five sets and was on the cusp of glory. But, the impact of his hip injuries in the last three years has meant that Murray is no longer the force that he was in his prime. Murray took two sets to one lead, winning the first set 6-2, losing the second set tie-break, and winning the third 6-3. But, Tsitsipas’ energy meant that he won the next two sets 6-3, 6-4 to knock Murray out.

The pain of Andy Murray

In the past, one often talked about the dominance of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. But, on occasions, there was a fourth player who would give a hard fight to the holy trinity. During the peak of Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic’s dominance, Murray somehow managed to win Grand Slam titles. He reached the final four times in the Australian Open but lost each time to Federer and Djokovic. In 2016, he reached the French Open final but lost to Djokovic.

Andy Murray gained prominence when he won Wimbledon twice in 2013 and 2016, already cementing his reputation as one of the best British Tennis players in history. When he won the US Open in 2012, his first Grand Slam win, Murray had already established himself as one of the best players along with Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal. When he won the Olympic gold in 2012 and 2016 as well as the Davis Cup, Murray was a great player in his own right.

But, from 2018 onwards, there was a constant hip injury that forced him to miss plenty of tournaments. Murray never became the same again after that hip injury, an injury that apparently wrecked his Tennis and his marriage.

Undergoing hip surgery and reconstruction

In 2018, Murray underwent hip surgery to get over the problem. But, the pain persisted and he could not complete many matches. Critically, the pain had not gone. It made routine tasks like putting on socks and shoes. He decided to take a second hip surgery, while at the same time announcing that he may have to retire from professional tennis. He then decided to undergo a drastic hip reconstruction surgery.

What did the surgery involve? The resurfacing surgery involved attaching a metal cap to the ball in the hip after the ball has been smoothed down. Once that’s done, a metal strip is put in the pelvic socket to set it into place. The main benefits are the ball put into the hip is large in size, providing good stability. The other major advantage is that the femur in the bone remains intact. This is particularly good if further surgery is required in the future. This reconstruction is one step below the hip replacement surgery, that would have ended Murray’s playing career.

What next for Murray?

The loss in the US Open, in one way, might not dull the brilliance of Murray. He has won Grand Slams at a time when Federer, Djokovic and Nadal have dominated. Olympic golds, Davis Cup and year-ending ATP Tour championships have also come in Murray’s way. He actually does not have anything to prove, apart from winning the Australian and French Opens.

Murray’s hip injuries and the way he has performed since then are nothing short of inspirational. Playing with a metal hip is difficult and needs an incredible amount of courage. Being stretched to five sets definitely does not help in the fitness aspect. But, Murray is made of tougher stuff. With two out of the fabulous trio in the sunset of their careers, it is a shame that Murray’s achievements have been suppressed under the dominance of the three.

Murray has given the trio a big fight throughout his career. Now, in the toughest phase of his life, Murray has shown tremendous willpower in stretching Tsitsipas, a future Grand Slam winner to the limit. It is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of Murray.

Sportslumo Desk

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