@Teejay I think you have got it spot on with everything you say. It's quite interesting that those of us with disabilities, or who have had major surgery, (I will raise you six doses of general anaesthetic, and six operations), understand completely what's going on with Murray at the moment. I also don't think Murray is going to take short cuts. It might well be that in taking sufficient time to get it properly right, rather than accepting almost right, the last couple of years of his career will enable him to challenge for the No 1 spot, and more Slams.
To be honest I don't think anyone who has never been under the knife, or rather, has never experienced major surgery, will ever understand exactly what it is like, even for a normal, everyday person with a normal, everyday job and lifestyle. It really makes you think what an elite athlete will go through.
I have to say I'm not an expert by any standards, I've never had back surgery, but I have refused a spinal procedure once. I have a condition called scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, which I could have had sorted surgically a number of years ago. I opted out, mainly because the thought of the surgery, a long procedure, plus all the recovery, frightened the life out of me. I admire Andy a lot for making what must have been a difficult, if entirely understandable decision to go under the knife. I don't care what anyone says, there are risks to all surgeries, and there certainly are risks to elite sportsmen. I don't need to say more than that, we all know what I mean.
I've had neurosurgery procedures a number of times, and a very big operation on a foot to attempt to straighten it a bit. Yes, it was every bit as gross as it sounds. That one was bad because it took a while to get me physically right afterwards. It's no coincidence in my mind that a short time after that surgery I became very ill with measles. I was quite lucky to pull through that with no real lasting damage. According to what my mother told me years later, it was touch and go for a while that I would come through it at all.
I think it was interesting a while back to see Andy saying that if he ever needed surgery again there are things he would do differently. Now, he didn't go into detail, but it did make me think that the whole rehab thing has been a learning curve for him. Hopefully he'll never need to use what he has learned again. It makes me glad to know he has such a good team around him. It was noticeable to me earlier to see how Jez Green was so supportive of Andy during the Dimitrov match. I don't think I've seen him look quite that animated for a while.
There is no doubt in my mind that Andy has probably elongated his career by having the surgery. I have to admit that pre-surgery there were times when I feared for him. It wasn't so much when he had the problems on the clay, but when it became pretty clear he was starting to struggle on the hard courts, especially last year. Sometimes it was painful to see his movement just not quite right, or to see him in pretty obvious pain. On the grass, which has never been a big issue for his back, I think we've seen the real Andy over the last couple of years. The grass, in my view, has really shown off the new and improved Murray really well, because he's been able to play freely. Is there anything much better in tennis than Andy's movement on a grass court?
I've got no doubt whatsoever that once Andy is fully match fit he has every chance of really taking off. I think we've seen enough since he came back to have every hope that is possible.
Lendl said a while ago that he thought Andy would be back to his best at RG. Looking at him this week I wouldn't be surprised. For the most part this week Andy has found his game when he's needed it. Look at the position he was in against Simon for example. I confess I went to bed thinking he was done that night, but Andy proved me wrong. Just like at the AO, when it's been good it's been really good this week. Today it was just a few points here and there that made the difference.