The waiting is over: Andy Murray is ready to defend his Wimbledon title. His preparations may not have been ideal but his hip is healing nicely and he feels capable of playing seven matches in the next 14 days.
“I’ll be fine to play the event and play seven matches,” he said yesterday with just 24 hours to go before he opens the tournament against Alexander Bublik. “Things can happen obviously when you’re playing, players have got injured during tournaments. But as I am today, if I feel like I am today, I’d be delighted and would have no issues getting through. If necessary, I can take some anti-inflammatories if my hip flares up. Hopefully that’s not the case.”
The “will-he-won’t-he” wait has been going on since the start of last week when he pulled out of an exhibition match at the Hurlingham Club in London with that sore hip. The rumour mill creaked into action and before long, popular wisdom had it that he was on the verge of pulling out of Wimbledon.
The problem is an old one and one that has been bothering him for some weeks. At least, then, he knows what he is dealing with and how to make it better.
“I’ve had hip problems since I was very young,” he said.
“It’s not something new to me. It’s just been very sore the last few weeks. It was giving me quite a lot of trouble moving to certain shots and getting into certain positions.
“So that was why I needed to take the break, to try and give it a chance to settle down, calm down a bit. You know, spent a lot of time with my physio and doing some extra exercises in my warm-up, strengthening exercises, a lot of stuff to try to loosen off that area. It’s felt much better the last few days.
“I just tried to think positively. I tried to make the best decisions along with my team to give myself the best chance to feel good on Monday. I feel like I’ve done that.”
When he arrived in Paris for the French Open, Murray was in a similar state of disarray: his form was in tatters, his confidence was ragged and, to make matters worse, he had a stinking cold. Yet he managed to work his way into form and into the semi-finals.
At his favourite grand slam and on his best surface, the world No 1 thinks he can do the same again in SW19.
“The last few days have been very good,” Murray said. “Practice each day has got a little bit better. It’s been slightly stop-start preparations. But each day I’ve felt better.
“But a little bit like at the French Open, where maybe I didn’t come in as well-prepared, I still found a way with each match to feel a bit better, and built confidence each day. I’m hoping that’s the case here.”