It should not have been a surprise to anyone who has watched Andy Murray’s amazing tennis year that his body finally started to give way during the Davis Cup semi-final loss to Argentina at Glasgow.
It was remarkable that Andy had not hit the physical wall earlier having started the year by losing in the Australian Open final where brutal playing conditions take a lot out of even the fittest players.
Murray made the French Open final – having also reached the finals of Madrid and Rome on clay – won Queens, Wimbledon for a second time, defended his gold medal in singles at the Rio Olympic Games, reached the Cincinnati final and then took part in the US Open before returning home to Glasgow to try and take GB into a second successive final.
Two out of his last three matches have gone to five sets, further testing his endurance and while he has a remarkable engine, bits have started to fall off the machine. “I have played so much tennis in the last few months, I need a break and I need it now,” said the 29-year-old who has won three Grand Slam titles and is No2 in the World rankings.
“I knew I was going to be in some pain this weekend and I spoke to my team about that it was going to be really hard. But my expectations were less than what I’m feeling now.”
Andy was forced to go off court for treatment to his upper thigh against Guido Pella “I’ve never really had any muscle injuries before,” he admitted.
The professional tennis tour is a beast and can break the very best. World No1 Novak Djokovic is not fully fit; Roger Federer has been forced to take time off while Rafael Nadal seems to spend more time recovering than playing.
Therefore, having powered GB to the Davis Cup title last year and into that semi-final in Glasgow it is now time to let Andy get on with his own career without any more national service. He only has a limited shelf life at the very top of the game and should now be allowed to focus solely on winning more Slams.
Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans are now inside the top 60 of the World rankings and GB have a host of doubles experts – headed by Dom Inglot – who can partner the outstanding Jamie Murray.
Andy has repeatedly gone beyond the call of duty for his country and GB tennis fans – and sports nuts in general – should give thanks that he has been around to take the country to the top of the Cup rankings when we have only had one world class player in singles and his brother in doubles.
Now, GB must get used to life without Andy. Give the lad a break.