April 26, 2019
Will Andy Murray feature at Wimbledon this summer?
It’s the question on everyone’s lips. And it really could happen.
His mother Judy is “cautiously optimistic” that he will be back on tour at some stage this summer.
He is already playing ‘static’ tennis, hitting against walls.
Even more encouragingly, Andy has also been filmed on an outside court at Wimbledon, enjoying a bit of casual doubles fun.
His brother Jamie reckons they will play Wimbledon doubles together one day. He can’t say for certain if it will be this year or some other year.
But he doesn’t rule out Wimbledon 2019.
What do all these hints and indications amount to, so far?
Listen to those in the know and you have to accept there are no guarantees that Andy will play Wimbledon this summer.
No one wants to put undue pressure on Britain’s favourite sporting hero.
But here’s why we can hope that Murray will feature at Wimbledon one way or another.
There are so many different degrees of involvement to choose from. And it’s our hunch that Andy will be there in some shape or form.
Can Murray launch a surprise campaign for the Wimbledon singles title?
Unlikely. Not entirely impossible. But a singles appearance would come with severely limited ambitions.
Murray couldn’t realistically expect to reach the end of the first week, never mind the second week.
He knows that. So he might well wait another year for the singles.
So what about the doubles?
We might know more on May 19. That’s the date of the new No1 Court celebrations at Wimbledon.
Four days after Andy’s 32nd birthday. And what would Andy want for his birthday more than anything? Fresh involvement at Wimbledon, if he feels ready.
So far Wimbledon have booked Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe for exhibition matches on May 19. (Paloma Faith and opera singer Joseph Calleja are due to perform between matches).
Wimbledon have publicly stated they are leaving room for last minute additions to the players’ line-up, as they show off the new roof.
It isn’t our place to second-guess the All England Club’s intentions with regard to Andy.
But there can be little doubt they would be delighted if Murray wants to make himself available for an exhibition appearance, however brief and light, as a surprise guest.
If that isn’t possible, Andy still has six more weeks to play with, before Wimbledon-proper begins.
Will he be desperate to play doubles there, to feel the love of the crowd and some kind of competitive edge once more? Of course, he will.
Maybe Andy won’t feel he is quite strong enough yet to do justice to Jamie, a genuine Grand Slam doubles contender, as his prospective doubles partner.
But there will be plenty of willing doubles players ready to take part in a little bit of Wimbledon history. The home hero’s return, for however long it lasts.
Andy will have the platform to play Wimbledon 2019 if he wants to. He could even play an informal exhibition match in front of the admiring crowds.
After all, plenty of veterans play matches on the sacred grass during Wimbledon fortnight, away from the main cut-and-thrust of the competitive action.
There are so many options for Andy and for Wimbledon. Where there is a will, there is a way. They will talk. They will make their own decisions as to what is possible and what isn’t.
So will the broadcasters. The ‘worst-case’ scenario? Andy on Centre Court, commentating for BBC TV, acting as ringmaster for ceremonies or television interviews, charming the crowd and the millions watching back home. A new partnership with Sue Barker?
Murray is already an accomplished pundit. He was just about the first to suggest that Novak Djokovic would win Wimbledon last year, rather than the heavily-fancied Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer.
With his dry wit and sharp observations, he has all the natural attributes for a hugely successful career in TV.
Otherwise, could we see him watching his friend Nick Kyrgios during the Australian’s singles matches, and perhaps even playing a key role as a calming mentor?
So many choices, so many possible scenarios. Tennis and the public always the winner.
So will Andy Murray make Wimbledon? Of course he will!
Andy will surely be there in some shape or form. And in some way, he will enhance our joyful experience at the Championships.
In the men’s doubles, mixed doubles, in an exhibition, as a commentator or mentor, does it really matter?
The great man will be there. He is, after all, a national treasure. And we look forward to seeing him.
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