Andy Murray returns to singles in Cincinnati, won't play singles at US Open
MASON – Seven months ago, Andy Murray walked off a tennis court in Melbourne, Australian, emotional and uncertain if he would ever play again because of constant pain in his right hip.
Murray first underwent hip surgery in 2018 but would need a second procedure – a hip resurfacing – after his first-round exit at the Australian Open in January this year.
At the Western & Southern Open Monday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, Murray made his return to singles competition with a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Richard Gasquet, of France.
Murray, 32, a three-time Grand Slam champion, has played doubles at five tournaments since recovering from surgery, but this was his first attempt at returning to singles, something Murray said he wanted to try ahead of the US Open in two weeks.
"I think I did okay," said Murray. "I think there was a lot of things I would like to have done better in the match, but, you know, you also have to be somewhat realistic, as well, in terms of what you can expect in terms of how you actually play and hit the ball.
"I think physically ... my legs were a little bit heavy at the end of the match in comparison to maybe what they normally would be if you played a bunch."
After the loss to Gasquet, Murray said he will not play singles at the US Open.
"I'm not going to play the US Open singles," said Murray. "We were hoping to maybe hold a wildcard until a little bit close to the time to see how I feel and get some matches hopefully and a bit of practice, but they were announcing the wildcards today and didn't want to wait.
"I didn't want to take a wildcard today because I just didn't know how I was going to feel after a match. I felt like I wanted to be fair for me to, you know, maybe try and get a couple of matches in before making a decision like that."
Murray said he'll maybe play Winston-Salem next week, and he'll "probably" look at playing doubles and mixed doubles at the US Open.
Tennis has always been a part of Murray's life and Monday in Cincinnati he took another step towards reclaiming it when seven months prior he was fearful about the possibility of losing it.
"I'm very aware that there's many people out there that have been in way worse situations than me," Murray said. "But tennis is something I have done my whole life, so it's something that is kind of all I have known as an adult. It's all I have worked to be a professional tennis player for my whole life.
"So when I wasn't able to do that and didn't know whether I was going to be able to come back and play, that was hard. It was difficult for me.
"But a few months after I had the operation in January, that kind of changed. My mentality changed a lot because I wasn't in pain anymore. And I was always worried, what will I do with myself without tennis? But actually once I got rid of the pain, I realized I didn't really, I didn't need tennis, tennis wasn't the most important thing for me."
Sitting in an armchair in a room filled with reporters, Murray expressed his disappointment, and, in a way, that's what he was looking for.
"I'm obviously happy to be back playing," said Murrray. "I thought it maybe would have changed my perspective completely on things, but I'm sitting here disappointed, which I think is probably a good thing, and if I want to get back to playing at a high level, if I was sort of just happy to be back on the court and, you know, not really worried about the outcome, then I'd be a bit maybe concerned about that.
"But I feel a bit disappointed. I feel I can do better, and there is lots of things I can work on, so I will go away and do that and hopefully be better next time."