Andy Murray emerged back into the public eye on Wednesday, mercifully pain-free after his latest hip operation, and hinted at one possible way of resuming his professional career: the relatively low-impact world of doubles.
Five weeks after having a metal socket installed at the top of his right femur, the Murray we saw on Wednesday was a very different man from the haggard figure who left Melbourne in January, having received a farewell tribute from the Australian Open following his first-round exit. After posing for photographs at Queen’s Club to promote his new kit sponsor Castore, Murray was full of bonhomie as he emphasised his improved quality of life.
The possibility of playing professional tennis was no more than a “side note”, he said, to the importance of being able to “walk around the block with my kids”. Asked to rate his chances of playing singles at Wimbledon in July, he put them at less than 50 per cent.
And yet something has changed. When Murray gave his tearful briefing to the media in Australia, he was considering playing Wimbledon as a farewell.
Now he is starting to talk about something more lasting. Even more revealingly, he is reluctant to commit to SW19 this summer, in case he rushes through his rehab and thus damages his longer-term prospects.