Andy Murray still to decide Wimbledon fate after practice set goes ‘pretty well’

Andy Murray expects to decide on Monday evening whether or not he will make a final singles appearance at Wimbledon.

The two-time former champion has been in a race against time since struggling with a back problem at Queen’s Club that led to weakness in his right leg, resulting in him undergoing surgery last weekend to remove a spinal cyst.

On Thursday, Murray rated it unlikely that he would be able to play singles, with an appearance in doubles alongside his brother Jamie more probable, but he gave a more upbeat assessment at a press conference on Sunday.

Andy Murray warming up ahead of practice
Andy Murray warming up ahead of practice (John Walton/PA)

“It’s been obviously a tough 10 days or so since Queen’s,” he said. “Obviously I had the operation on the back, which wasn’t insignificant. I’ve just been trying to do everything that I can to try and get ready to start the tournament here.

“I don’t know if that’s going to be enough. I’ve been practising for the last few days. I played a set today. It went pretty well, but I still don’t have 100 per cent feeling and sensation in my leg yet.

“It’s getting better every single day. Like I said a few days ago, I want to give it every single chance that I can to get there.

“I’m going to play another set again tomorrow. I’m doing some physical testing in the morning to see how far off I am from a physical perspective. Then I will probably make a decision tomorrow evening after that.”

Murray has been assured that the risks he would be taking by playing would be around a reopening of the surgical wound rather than possible damage to his back.

“It’s the leg and the function of my leg that will determine whether or not I’m able to play,” said the 37-year-old. “Each day it becomes more and more likely that I’ll be able to play properly.

“It’s impossible for me to say (now) because I also want to go out there and be able to play to a level that I’m happy with. I don’t want to be in a situation like at Queen’s. I don’t want to go on the court and it to be awkward or not be able to at least be competitive.”

Murray confirmed this week that he is aiming for Wimbledon and the Olympics to be the final tournaments of his glittering career.

The drive to make the court for his first-round match against Tomas Machac on Tuesday is therefore extremely strong, with Murray saying: “This is a place that’s obviously been really good to me over the years.

Andy Murray kisses the Wimbledon trophy
Andy Murray lifted the Wimbledon trophy for the second time in 2016 (Adam Davy/PA)

“The last few years you’ve had Serena (Williams) finishing playing, Roger finished playing, and Rafa (Nadal) obviously has spoken a lot recently about the struggles he’s gone through. Everyone has their idea of how they want to finish their career, how they would want it to go.

“My idea of that would be, I probably would have seen that happening at Wimbledon. Obviously I have the Olympics coming up. But I would love the opportunity to play here one more time.

“That’s what I’m looking to get out of it. Whether afterwards I feel like that’s the right thing to do, I don’t know. But right now I feel like I want that opportunity.”

Murray has experienced some of his biggest emotional highs at the All England Club and also some painful lows.

Asked about the emotions he is hoping to feel this week, he said: “I don’t think there’s one thing that I’m hoping for. When it comes to the end, I don’t know, maybe a bit of closure.

“I just want the opportunity to play one more time out there hopefully on Centre Court and feel that buzz.”

Exactly how he will say goodbye remains to be seen, and Murray referenced the awkward on-court ceremony at the Australian Open five years ago when messages from his friends and rivals were played on the screen after what was feared to be his final match.

“I don’t know what the right thing is,” he said. “I know obviously what happened in Australia a few years ago was a bit awkward. It’s different this time.”

Jamie, left, and Andy Murray embrace
Jamie, left, and Andy Murray are hoping to play together in the doubles at Wimbledon for the first time (Jane Barlow/PA)

Jamie is hopeful that the brothers will be able to play doubles together at Wimbledon for the first time to mark the end of an era.

“I would want him to be able to go out there and perform well, give it his best shot, and, if that’s it for him, then that’s it,” said Jamie.

“Obviously you can’t control injuries, and it’s been a big effort for him to get to this stage where he still has hope he can go and play in the singles.

“He’s used to dealing with things that haven’t gone his way when it comes to his body over the last seven, eight years. We’ll see what happens over the next couple of days but hopefully he gets a good send-off.”