June 21, 2024

Andy Murray faces Stan Wawrinka in the first round of the 2024 French Open (Image: GETTY)

Andy Murray is back at the French Open where he suffered his agonising hip injury seven years ago.
Andy Murray has relived his agony of suffering his hip injury losing to Stan Wawrinka at the 2017 French Open and admitted: “I never recovered.” The two triple Grand Slam champions will reunite in the first round at Roland Garros on Sunday.

Andy Murray has played the Swiss superstar on his last two matches in the French capital, including a brutal first round defeat here in 2020. But Wawrinka’s five-set win here in the 2017 semi-finals saw him reach his fourth and last Grand Slam final while Murray suffered two years of injury hell and two hips operations.

The Scot, who could be appearing in his final French Open, recalled: “It was the last straw. I remember before the quarter-final match that I played against Kei Nishikori that something wasn’t right. I had had issues with my hip for a really long time and if you look at some of my results in the year leading up to that, I had lost multiple matches from two sets to one up.

“It happened at the US Open, it happened at the Davis Cup. Obviously it happened here against Stan as well and my record when I was in that position throughout my career was excellent. And as the longer matches were going on, I was starting to have issues like one moving, and also driving up to serve, because of my hip.

“I remember during that match, during the fifth set, I was really feeling I was unable to move. I couldn’t sleep that night , my hip was in so much pain. We were staying in a house near here. I remember getting up in the night because I couldn’t sleep. I was lying on the sofa in loads of pain.

“And I never recovered. My hip never recovered. I couldn’t extend my leg behind me anymore, like properly, after that match and it was a shame.” World No.75 Murray leads their head-to-head record 13-9 after first meeting at the Davis Cup in 2005. World No.97 Wawrinka is now 39.

“It is incredible that he is still competing at the highest level,” said Murray, 37. “It is great that we get the opportunity to play against each other. It should be a brilliant atmosphere. It is a good match for both of us I think. He has obviously had an amazing career and it is a pleasure to get to play against him in another Slam.”

Murray feared he would not be playing his Slam after rupturing ankle ligaments in Miami in March. “Initially playing here was looking pretty unlikely,” he said. “It is always difficult with injuries because you never know how well they heal and how the rehab is going to go so putting timeframes and stuff on it isn’t always the smartest thing.

Andy Murray warmed up for the French Open by playing in Geneva (Image: GETTY)

“But yeah, based on the injury that I had, it was looking like 10-12 weeks and therefore I probably wouldn’t have been able to play but it actually went really, really smoothly and we started chatting a bit about it as a team and whether it was something we should do.

“I was close to being able to play in Rome maybe. But yeah, happy I was able to get it sorted and I am able to compete here. I felt really really motivated. I worked extremely hard every single day with my team and physio, there were no breaks or holidays to feel sorry for myself. I just did the work.”

Murray has returned to action using a Yonex racket after years with Head. “I felt like it was something I wanted to try,” he said. “I don’t want to finish my career thinking: Should I have given it a go to see whether or not that was something that could have potentially helped me. I really enjoyed going through that process.

“Everyone knows that matches are a little bit different but I think it was the right thing for me to try at this stage and see what happens. I really enjoyed going through that process. I tried lots of different racquets. Did a lot of that myself which I enjoyed.

“It was something that kept me occupied a little bit during some of the rehab and everything and found a racket that I really like. Obviously I have enjoyed playing with it in practice a lot. Everyone knows that matches are a little bit different but I think it was the right thing for me to try at this stage and see what happens.”

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