British tennis star Andy Murray is pain-free after hip surgery but only has a slim chance of reaching Wimbledon in June.
Murray underwent extensive hip resurfacing surgery in January, which he hoped would let him return to professional tennis after more than a year of pain and injuries that left him almost unable to walk.
“The rehab is slow but going well,” the 31-year-old Scot has told the BBC.
“I want to continue playing, I said that in Australia. The issue is I don’t know whether it’s possible.
“The operation went well. I’m feeling good and walking around pain free – which hasn’t been the case for pretty much 18 months, two years.
Hip op hopes
“The reason for having the surgery was to improve the day-to-day things and my quality of life.
“I wasn’t enjoying tennis, I wasn’t enjoying going out for walks and doing basic things – it was painful tying my laces. I wanted to get rid of that.”
Murray ended the Australian Open in January in tears, admitting the pain was so bad he planned to retire after this year’s Wimbledon.
Hip resurfacing involves smoothing the join and replacing the ball with a metal cap.
Bob Bryan, an American tennis player, had the same operation last year and started playing doubles with his brother within five months, but no player has successfully returned to play singles tennis at grand slam level.
50% Wimbledon chance
“To play singles at Wimbledon I’d say it would be less than 50% chance, doubles maybe possibly,” Murray said.
“There is a vast difference between singles and doubles, in terms of the physicality and the loads you put through the body.
“I think it is possible to return to singles, but I don’t want to say it is highly likely because it hasn’t been done before. I can’t look at another tennis player and say that guy has done it.
“The thing that gives me hope is that in Australia and in the past 18 months, my hip was in a really bad way and I was still able to compete and win matches against good players.
“If my hip is better now and with less pain there is a chance I could do it again.”