You can only hope that Andy Murray’s new hip is still under warranty. In the event that the new doubles champion of Queen’s Club goes on and wins the title at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne this week, he would be game for a bungee jump off Beachy Head to celebrate.
“I’d be up for it, but I’m not going to do it on my own,” Murray said. “I’d do it if all my team were up for it, although I don’t know if my hip surgeon would be particularly happy with me trying that.”
His surgeon, Sarah Muirhead-Allwood, was at Queen’s Club on Saturday to see Murray and Feliciano Lopez win their quarter-final and semi-final matches and she clearly takes a keen interest in Murray’s every move, no matter what time of day it is. “We went to dinner close to Queen’s [to celebrate on Sunday night]. It was good. Feli was on good form. I was driving so I was on Cokes and water but Feli’s coach had a few drinks, though, that’s for sure.
“I messaged [my surgeon] when I got in at 2:30 in the morning and she responded within five minutes.
“I was, like, God, she’s supposed to be operating tomorrow morning. I don’t want to be the first one on the list on Monday.”
Enjoying his moments of success matter all the more to Murray these days. That said, when he proudly showed off his trophy to his elder daughter, Sophia, she did not seem at all impressed. That is three-year-olds for you. But it has been a long time since he had something to celebrate: his last tournament win was in Dubai in 2017 and pretty much from that moment on, he struggled with injuries until he was forced to resort to two bouts of surgery on his ailing hip. After coming through all of that, those winning moments are all the more special.
“When I won that tournament in Dubai, I said before the week, if I win the tournament, I want to do a sky dive,” said Murray. “All of my team rejected it and were, like, no chance we’re doing that. Obviously that turned out to be the last tournament that I won
“I was saying to them, like, you’ll need to make sure you enjoy those moments, because you don’t know what’s around the corner and what might happen. And, at the time it’s, like, you sometimes forget that winning a tournament like that is really, really special.
“Often in tennis you’re right on to the next week. Here [this week], obviously playing literally just 36, 40 hours after you get off [court at Queen’s]. So you need to try and enjoy the good moments when you can and celebrate them, you know, because you don’t know what’s going to happen even the next day or in the few months’ time.”
In order to have something to party about at the weekend, Murray has a lot of work to do. This week he will be partnered by Brazilian Marcelo Melo, pictured, the world No 4 in doubles. The two men got to know each other well at the ill-fated International Tennis Premier League, an exhibition event, a few years back. Melo has won 32 titles in his long career (he is 35) including the French Open in 2015 and Wimbledon in 2017.
“He’s good fun, pretty laid-back guy and, hopefully we’ll do well,” Murray said. “We literally hit for like 30, 40 minutes today and then we chatted about the match and stuff, the things that he likes to do on the court and in terms of, like, the signals and how he likes to play.
“Me and Feli were playing quite conventional doubles, and he [Melo] expects to play a bit more I-formation and a lot more kind of moving around at the net and stuff. So that will be again a different sort of challenge tomorrow, but it can also be very effective if done well.”
After not playing for five months, Murray has a bit of a stiff back after four matches in as many days but, other than that, Murray feels in fine form. The fact that he and Melo are facing the top seeds, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, today is not a concern: Murray and Lopez did for the same Colombian pair in the first round at Queen’s last week. Suddenly, the thought of that bungee jump off Beachy Head may not be so far-fetched after all.