Andy Murray on track for Wimbledon finale as he avoids surgery

Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates during his match against Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic in the third round of the Miami Open at the Hard Rock Stadium on March 24, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida
Andy Murray has avoided surgery on his ankle - Getty Images/Frey

Andy Murray’s prospects of a satisfying Wimbledon finale have received a significant boost with the news that he will resume hitting in the next few days.

Murray ruptured two ankle ligaments in Miami three weeks ago, and has spent much of that time wearing a protective boot on his left foot. Crucially, though, he has avoided surgery, which would have necessitated a much longer layoff.

According to a statement from his management agency IMG, Murray’s rehab has been progressing well, and has brought him close to the point where he can go back on the practice court.

There is still no projected date for his return to competition. But then, the ATP Tour has now moved onto the red-clay phase, which was always his least favourite part of the season.

One suspects that Murray will be keen to make one final appearance at next month’s French Open, where he reached the final in 2016, even if he is unlikely to go deep into the tournament.

All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 6, 2023 Britain’s Andy Murray celebrates winning the second set during his second round match against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas
Murray will hope to line up at Wimbledon one more time - Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

But his priority will surely be the grass-court season. His winning ratio on grass stands at 82 per cent, as opposed to 75 on hard courts and 69 on clay. He is the only man to have won Queen’s five times and he also ended the 77-year wait for a homegrown male Wimbledon champion in 2013.

Soon after Murray had sustained his ankle injury, the prognosis was set out by Dr Daniel Fong, reader in sports medicine and biomechanics at Loughborough University. “It could be a few months for surgical reconstruction of the ligaments,” said Dr Fong, “or a few weeks for conservative treatments such as bracing, taping and exercise.”

Murray’s many admirers can be grateful that he has gone down the second path. An operation would probably have ruled him out of Wimbledon and the Olympic Games, which are both on his final-season wish-list (even if he has admitted that he would skip the Olympics if he felt that he had no chance of winning a medal).

In the immediate aftermath of the injury – but before he had realised its severity – Murray told reporters that he had come to terms with his imminent departure from the tour.

“I am looking forward to the end now,” Murray said, “giving my best for the next few months and then getting to be at home with my family.”