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Doctor: Tennis ace Andy Murray 'unlikely' to return to tour after hip surgery

By
Alex Butler
British tennis ace Andy Murray had hip resurfacing surgery on January 28. It's unknown if he will return to tennis at the Grand Slam level. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
British tennis ace Andy Murray had hip resurfacing surgery on January 28. It's unknown if he will return to tennis at the Grand Slam level. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Andy Murray opted for hip surgery instead of resting for Wimbledon and a leading arthroscopic hip surgeon says it's unlikely he returns to the tour.

Sports medicine expert Dr. Derek Ochiai of Arlington, Va., told UPI he would not be surprised if Murray returned to the court on an exhibition or recreational level, but not against top competition in Grand Slams.

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"The amount of impact and training necessary to be able to compete on the men's tour [along with the five set matches in majors], makes it unlikely he will play again at that level," Ochiai said. "In addition, that level of training and competition will put more stress on his artificial hip, potentially making it wear our more quickly."

There is recent evidence that shows results of hip arthroscopy are worse if symptoms have been present for two years or longer, which is the case with Murray.

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The former world No. 1 had hip resurfacing surgery on Jan. 28.

"I underwent a hip resurfacing surgery in London yesterday morning ... feeling a bit battered and bruised just now but hopefully that will be the end of my hip pain," the 31-year-old said after the surgery. "I now have a metal hip as you can see in the 2nd photo and I look like I've got a bit of a gut in photo 1."

Murray also had surgery on his hip in January 2018. He told reporters last month the 2019 Australian Open could be the final tournament of his career. At the time he hoped to rest until Wimbledon and make that the final tournament of his career.

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Ochiai said resting would not have cured Murray's hip and opting for surgery was the right choice.

"Sure, physically, he may have been able to play and perhaps go through a match or maybe two," Ochiai said. "Andy Murray knows his hip better than anyone else. Hip pain can be mentally fatiguing, and he had an operation that will relieve that pain. I am sure he made the right choice."

Hip labral tears are the most common hip injuries for athletes, particularly those who compete in sports that involve twisting and jumping.

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"The labrum is a rim of cartilage surrounding the hip joint," Ochiai said. "When this is torn, the protective effect of the labrum on the gliding cartilage of the hip is diminished, and can lead to hip arthritis at an earlier age than would be expected by actuarial tables. Hip labral tears an inextricably linked to hip FAI [femoroacetabular impingement]. FAI hips develop in early teenage years to be 'out of round' in certain positions, which puts increased stress on the hip joint."

There is currently nothing available to prevent FAI.

The French Open will be played between May 27 and June 10 at Roland Garros in Paris. Wimbledon follows from July 2-15 in London. The Grand Slam circuit closes out at the 2019 U.S. Open from August 27 to September 9 in Queens, N.Y.

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