John McEnroe unsure whether Andy Murray’s body can take any more

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John McEnroe shared Andy Murray’s pessimism after the former world number one’s Wimbledon exit on Friday night.

The Scot had spoken of his delight at being back at the All England Club after two memorable victories but his mood was very different following a 6-4 6-2 6-2 loss to Denis Shapovalov in the third round.

Murray has struggled with a succession of niggles since his hip resurfacing surgery in 2019, the latest a groin problem that has severely limited his practice opportunities.

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That left the 34-year-old to ponder whether it was worth all the hard work needed simply to get back onto the match court if he is not able to produce the tennis he needs to.

Speaking on BBC One, McEnroe said: “It just really depends on can the body take it. I’m not a doctor but he’s got a metal hip, you’re 34, there’s a lot of wear and tear on that body. We want to see him go out on the terms he wants to go out on. Ultimately, you have to get on the court.

“He’s going to go to a cement surface now, that can’t be easier on your body. He’s the type of guy, he needs to play a lot. Obviously his body wasn’t up to it against Shapovalov. The guy was hitting the ball so big. There’s a fair amount of guys that hit the ball as hard as that.

“The most important step in tennis is the first one. You need explosion. If you don’t have that, you’re done. Murray is in the top six to eight movers ever for me. That way of playing is extremely difficult to do when you feel deep down you’ve lost something.”

Andy Murray could find no answers to Denis Shapovalov on Friday
Andy Murray (pictured) could find no answers to Denis Shapovalov on Friday (Adam Davy/PA)

Time will tell whether it was Murray’s disappointment talking, but there is no doubt his comeback will only be sustainable if he can maintain a level of fitness that allows him to train consistently.

Roger Federer, who practised with Murray ahead of the tournament, can empathise with the Scot having had his own battle to return to the court and find his form following two knee operations last year.

The 20-time grand slam singles champion said: “I totally know what he’s trying to say because, if you have to make compromises every single day – instead of practice you have to rest, instead of practising three hours you can only practise an hour and a half, whatever it is – it makes things more complicated.

“On top of it all, you can’t probably play 35 tournaments any more. Now you’re playing maybe 25, maybe 15 or less. All these things really matter in a player’s mind.

Roger Federer (left) and Andy Murray practised ahead of the tournament
Roger Federer (left) and Andy Murray practised ahead of the tournament (Edward Whitaker/AELTC/PA)

“I totally understand where he’s coming from. Plus he’s also had a tough year. He hasn’t played many matches. There’s clearly some question marks.

“At the same time, he should be very, very happy about himself. I think he has a huge admiration from all the players with what he’s going through because that is not just some simple knee thing like maybe some others. This is major stuff.

“I wish him only the best. Everybody hopes he stays on tour and keeps on going. But most of all he needs to be happy. That goes with being healthy, clearly.”

Next up for Murray is a fourth Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he will play singles – a third-successive gold medal looks well beyond him currently – and doubles with Joe Salisbury.

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