14 The Daily Telegraph Monday 31 August 2020 *** Sport Tennis Murray ‘motivated’ by surgeon who tennis correspondent By Simon Briggs supposed to send him into the next phase of his life. The operation had happened the day before. As Amazon Prime Video’s documentary revealed in gruesome detail, Muirhead-Allwood carved through Murray’s massive hip muscles before gluing a metal cap into his hip socket and then hammering another metal rod into place. He was unconscious at this point, but had he been awake to witness the carnage, playing best-of-five-set tennis on Arthur Ashe Stadium must have seemed a distant dream. During this weekend’s interview, Murray was asked whether he had imagined – at that agonising early stage – that he would make a full return. “It would depend when you asked me that question,” he said. “If you had asked me the day after I had the operation, I was in bits and would have said no. For the few weeks afterwards, definitely I would have said not. But with each week that passed, yes, I started to believe. “I was a bit p----- off I wasn’t allowed to play singles at Wimbledon that year , even though it was only a few months after I had the operation. Because actually I was feeling good physically in terms of no pain. I didn’t really know until I Chance encounter after hip operation fuelled his comeback competing again, but I haven’t brought myself to do that yet.” Perhaps the encounter was serendipitous. It took place on Jan 30, 2019, only a few days after that tumultuous night when a limping Murray had forced a fifth set against Roberto Bautista Agut, and Tennis Australia then flashed up a tearjerking retirement video that was Resurfacing Briton takes on Nishioka in US Open first-round encounter Tomorrow morning in New York, Andy Murray will make his first grand-slam appearance since Jan 14, 2019. That was the notorious evening in Melbourne when the world’s top players waved farewell and offered their best wishes for his retirement. Murray’s tenacity has become such a truism of British sport that we almost take it for granted. Yet on that bittersweet night, before an audacious “resurfacing” operation equipped him with a bionic metal hip, even he suspected that his career was probably over. How did he manage to claw his way back? First, through the steady hands of hip surgeon Dr Sarah Muirhead-Allwood. And then, in the same way that he always has – by seeking out slights or grievances and turning them into motivation. Anyone who has watched the Netflix documentary which follows a chippy Michael Jordan through his final season with the Chicago Bulls, will recognise this pattern. “There is one person in particular that helped me,” Murray told reporters over a Zoom call at the weekend. “It was the surgeon who told me after Wimbledon in 2017 that I didn’t have long left and you could have surgery – resurfacing or hip replacement – but you won’t play professional sport again. “It was weird timing, I actually bumped into him the morning after I had my hip resurfacing [in January 2019] when I took my first steps on the new hip with the crutches. And I walked past him in the hallway and he smiled at me and said to my wife, ‘I told him he was going to have to do this’. “It just really got me. I was not happy. I would say that was the thing that gave me the biggest motivation because, at that moment, I had obviously been going through a difficult time, had the operation, and I felt that there was a bit of smugness to what he told me. “I was going to send him a bottle of wine to say thanks for the motivation once I got back on the court The Last Dance,
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