Murray needs another 24 hours to decide on Wimbledon involvement

Andy Murray’s hopes of the perfect Wimbledon farewell were precariously hanging in the balance last night.

The two-time champion went through an intense training session at the All England Club on Sunday, every grunt and grimace followed by a phalanx of cameras and media, but refused to declare himself fit to compete.

Instead he will put himself through the paces again on Monday before making a call as late as possible after whether to line-up for a first round men’s singles match with Tomáš Macháč.

It’s obvious that days, and even hours, matter in this recovery process, with the 37-year-old Scot scheduled to say farewell to the tournament in the men’s doubles, alongside brother Jamie, if he can’t play singles.

“It’s been a very tough ten days and I’m doing everything that I can to get ready,” he said.

“I don’t know if that’s going to be enough. I’ve been working hard for the last few days. I played a set today. It went pretty well, but I still don’t have 100% sort of feeling and sensation in my leg yet.

“It’s getting better every single day. Like I said a few days ago, I want to give it every single chance that I can to get there.

“I’m going to play another set on Monday and I’m doing some physical testing in the morning to see sort of how far off I am from a physical perspective. Then I will probably make a decision tomorrow evening after that.

“I’m hoping with each day that passes that the likelihood of me being able to play will increase. I don’t want to go on the court and it be awkward or not be able to be competitive.

“Obviously with doubles, although you’re covering less distance and less court, you still need to be able to move pretty explosively.

“I would love the opportunity to play here one more time, this is a place that’s obviously been really good to me over the years.”

To even be in a position to play so close to surgery is remarkable, though there is arguably no greater defiant contrarian in British sport than Murray.

His near two decade career has been defined by a dogged competitiveness and relentless refusal to listen to conventional wisdom.

Since his debut as raw-boned teenager in 2005, Murray has returned 14 times and wants – and deserves – just one more moment to savour.

Because even the most dogged of survivors knows, in a word that will be uttered at hundreds of changeovers in the fortnight ahead, it’s ‘time’.

Murray isn’t big on big farewells. It’s five years since he broke down at the Australian Open and made a somewhat rash decision to call it quits.

He sat awkwardly through a wholesome retirement video on Rod Laver Arena, only to return to action – installed with a metal hip – and add to his collection of ATP Tour titles in Antwerp a few months later.

At last year’s Wimbledon he was even mentioned among the contenders, eventually going down in one of his trademark five-set epics to number five seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

But this season it’s been clear the sands of time were down to the final grains, Murray winning just six of his 18 matches and reaching the third round just once in the 13 tournaments played.

All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton said it was Murray’s call on the farewell he receives here. In time he’ll surely get his statue but for now, he just wants to play.

“I don’t know what the right thing is, what happened in Australia a few years ago was a bit awkward,” he admitted.

“I don’t think there’s one thing that I’m hoping for, maybe a bit of closure.

“I just want the opportunity to play one more time out there, hopefully on Centre Court, and feel that buzz.

“Last year, I wasn’t planning on it being my last year on the tour. I wanted to come back and play again, whereas this year I have no plans to do that.

“Everyone has their idea of how they want to finish their career, how they would want it to go. For me that was always here, though I’ve got the Olympics too which are very important to me.”

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Image: Reuters via Beat Media Group subscription

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