Andy Murray has revealed he is considering a potentially career-extending second hip operation.
The latest option available to the former world No 1 is to have his hip resurfaced rather than replaced. It is still a major operation and would require months of rehab but it might just prolong his playing days.
After losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2 to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the Australian Open yesterday, Murray told the 7,500 strong crowd who had packed the Melbourne Arena: “Maybe I’ll see you again.
“I’ll do everything possible to try. If I want to come back again, I’ll need to have a big operation where there are no guarantees I will be able to come back from it. I will give it my best shot.”
Instead of a total hip replacement, the procedure Murray is contemplating involves cementing a new ball joint to the top of his femur and cementing a metal cap into the socket part of the joint.
Later, after walking gingerly into the press conference room, Murray explained his options in more detail.
And, while he is taking nothing for granted and making no promises, he sounded like a man who had not given up on his playing career, despite having effectively announced his retirement on Friday.
Murray said: “I have basically two options. One is to take the next four and a half months off, then build up and play Wimbledon.
“Tonight was not comfortable in terms of my hip. At the end, I’m really struggling. I can’t walk properly at all just now. I could play another match, but I want to improve my quality of life because, even if I take four months [off], I still can’t walk. I’m still in pain doing just basic day-to-day things.
“But having an operation like that, there’s absolutely no guarantees I’d be able to play again. I’m fully aware of that.
“It’s a really big operation. But there is the possibility, because guys have done it before. Bob Bryan [the former No 1 doubles player] is doing it just now. Some other athletes have given it a go. But, like I said, there’s no guarantees.
“That’s kind of the decision I have to make, that possibility of not having one more match by having the operation.”
Murray has plenty to think about in the coming days and weeks.
For a start, there is the thought that, if does go ahead with the surgery and tries to come back only to discover that he cannot continue as a professional athlete, his last match may be a low-key and unhappy affair.
If he abandons all hope of a return to tennis, he will at least have the lasting memory of yesterday’s dramatic and emotional showdown with Bautista Agut as his last outing as a top player.
It was a stunning effort from the Scot in front of a packed house with all but the Spaniard’s team cheering his every move.
“It was the most special match that I played, even though it was the first round