Former world No 1, his voice choked with emotion, says he will he would make his decision ‘in the next couple of days’
ANDY MURRAY this week faces the tough decision whether to have surgery to solve his worrying hip problem.
Murray made up his mind to pull out of the US Open just 20 minutes before he was due to give his pre-tournament press conference.
He left the Billie Jean King Tennis Center immediately afterwards.
But the former world No 1 will not rush into a choice which could determine whether he is able to compete at the top level of tennis for the foreseeable future.
And perhaps ever again…
Murray, whose voice was choked with emotion as he announced his withdrawal, claimed he would make his decision “in the next couple of days”.
It is more likely, though, that he will wait for the initial disappointment to fade and then take a clearer, more considered view after a few days back at home in Surrey.
The precise nature of the injury which has dogged Murray since his French Open semi-final defeat by Stan Wawrinka remains unclear.
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There is talk, however, that he has a bone spur – an abnormal extra growth of bone – in his left hip.
What is certain is that surgery is very much an option.
Bone spurs can be caused by a number of factors, including osteoarthritis, and Murray himself has admitted that the problem is one he has suffered on and off for the long period of time.
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Rest, painkillers like ibuprofen and steroid injections into the joint are all recognised treatments.
But if the spur is pressing on nerves or tendons, it can take an operation to relieve the pain.
Murray will be reluctant to go under the knife for the second time in four years.
The Scot won his first two Grand Slam titles despite a long-standing back issue and underwent surgery in September 2013.
It then took him more than a year to regain form and fitness and nearly three years to win another Slam. At the age of 30, such a long road back will feel like time he cannot afford.
Murray has already consulted a number of specialists and has heard a number of different opinions.
He missed big tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati and has not playing competitive tennis for more than a month since his Wimbledon quarter-final defeat.
So he could scarcely return to the kind of shaped needed to beat the best.
Now that the last Grand Slam of the season has gone, it would be no surprise if Murray decided to duck out of the Asian swing and join Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori in calling time on his season.
Wawrinka has had two knee operations, Djokovic is nursing a niggling elbow problem and Nishikori has wrist problems.
Writing off the rest of 2017 would be extra painful for Murray because it would probably mean having to postpone his charity event in Glasgow in November.
Roger Federer was due to play and return the favour of the Scot being part of an event in Zurich earlier this year.
But at least Federer’s experience offers hope. The Swiss had a knee operation in March 2016 and, after returning too quickly, took six months off after losing at Wimbledon.
Federer came back reborn and is the favourite, along with Rafael Nadal, to add the US Open title to the Australian Open and Wimbledon crowns he has already won in an astonishing comeback year.