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I'll back Andy's next move, says Jamie

 

By Paul Newman

Jamie Murray is uncertain what the future might hold for his brother Andy but is hoping that if he has further surgery on his injured right hip it will improve his quality of life.

"I just hope that, whatever happens, he can get back to just regular life, pain-free, and be able to enjoy himself and not be in constant pain," said Jamie.

"If he's able to come back and play tennis, if that's what he wants to do, then I'm sure he'll give it everything he can. But I think for me it's just important that he gets back to regular life and is able to do what he wants to do."

Andy, whose Australian Open first-round defeat to Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday could prove the last match of his career, will decide over the next week whether to have further surgery.

Without an operation, Murray could take a break, return to training in the summer and play at Wimbledon in what he had planned as his farewell tournament. However, he would still have to deal with the day-to-day pain that has troubled him ever since he suffered the injury in the summer of 2017.

The alternative would be to have a "resurfacing" operation on his hip, which involves replacing the lining of the damaged joint with a smooth artificial surface. It should alleviate his physical pain, but it is doubtful whether he would be able to put in the hard work in training that he would need to play at the top level again.

However, Jamie said: "Other athletes have done that surgery and come back to do their sport. I don't know how successfully or at what level they're playing at. Bob Bryan's had the surgery that Andy's got and he's back playing now, but obviously it's a lot easier to do that in doubles rather than singles."

He added: "I knew how difficult it was for Andy because of the pain he's in and also the frustration of not being able to play to the level that he's used to or expects of himself. But in a way I was glad for him that he'd taken a decision. It was a lot of weight off his shoulders."

Jamie said it had been "a difficult week for Andy and for the family" but said he had been pleased with the way his brother had played on Monday evening and with the reception he had been given by the crowd.

"The support that he got from start to finish was incredible," Jamie said. "If it is his last Australian Open then that's a great way for him to finish and I'm sure he'll be more than happy with that.

"He's had an incredible career with a lot of remarkable moments on the tennis court, the things he's been able to achieve, the performances that he's been able to come up with and the titles and everything that he's won. I'm sure he'll go down as a legend in this sport."

Jamie said the on-screen tributes paid to Andy at the end of the match - with other players talking about his career in the past tense - had been "a little bit odd" because his brother had not confirmed that he would never play again.

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