Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

McEnroe: It's Great Having Andy Back, but It's Difficult to See Him Winning Slams

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

McEnroe: It's Great Having Andy Back, but It's Difficult to See Him Winning Slams

Article excerpt

Byline: tennis Matt Majendie Sports Correspondent

WIMBLEDON last year was notable for the absence of Andy Murray, six months prior to what now looks increasingly like career-saving surgery.

Murray is missing from the singles draw again this year, but will partner Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the men's doubles, using it as a potential stepping stone back to the top of the game.

While his fans remain hopeful he will have done just that by next year's Championships, former champion John McEnroe has warned that day may never come.

"Singles is a totally different animal," he said. "The big part of Andy's game was relying on court coverage. He's one of the best movers the game has ever seen.

"If you lose five per cent of that, you're dropping from, say, No4 in the world to 15. Any more than that and you'll have a tough time in not heading in the wrong direction down the world rankings.

"I don't know how close he is to 100 per cent and I'd love him to have to a solid year and get back to the top 10, but it's going to be tough starting off. He'll need to play a lot of events, he won't be able to pick and choose. Hopefully, this surgery does it, but everyone knows it was his last-ditch attempt."

For now, Murray has set himself the ambition of playing singles around the time of the US Open, but the idea he might go on to add to his three Grand Slams is unlikely, according to McEnroe (below).

"With an injury of that severity, it'll be hard to get back to that level again," he said. "Sometimes, when you get away from the game, you realise how much you love it -- and that love could be pretty inspirational for him. It would be a tall order, but we've had Tiger Woods winning the Masters after eight surgeries, so who knows?" Without the threat of a fit Murray, McEnroe said it was difficult to look beyond the defending champion for this year's winner. …

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