It was indeed an April Fools. Thanks to those that played along. - Ed
Rumours swirling around the ATP Tour suggest that Andy Murray has begun training furiously for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
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According to sources close to the Murray camp, the Scot has all but abandoned hopes of making it back onto the regular ATP tour. The news follows the radical hip-resurfacing operation he opted for in January this year in a bid to restart his pro career.
Although the former world number one had targeted one last hurrah at Wimbledon, Murray now seems to have adjusted his expectations. The twice Olympic champion is reportedly training daily in a specially adapted wheelchair.
Fellow Scot Gordon Reid, the Paralympic gold medallist and two-time grand-slam champion, is rumoured to be overseeing his development.
Meanwhile, Murray has been spotted by incredulous locals taking part in the Inclusive Tennis Programme at the Surbiton Racket and Fitness Club close to his Surrey home.
Club regular and Murray superfan Nikki Fishford, 23, from Thames Ditton, said, “It blew my socks off when I saw Andy hitting in a chair. Although he'd grown a heavy beard to hide his face, I’d know that down-the-line two-hander anywhere."
As of 2012, people with physical disabilities similar to Murray’s are eligible to compete in Paralympic wheelchair tennis. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) states that, ‘To be eligible to play wheelchair tennis, a competitor must have a medically diagnosed, permanent, mobility-related physical disability’.
Wheelchair competitors must then meet one of several further criteria that include ankylosis, severe arthrosis or joint replacement in the lower half. On this basis, Murray would clearly seem to meet the IPC’s requirements. The governing body, led by President Andrew Parsons, is understood to be in the process of rubber-stamping the Scot’s application.
Murray’s friend and ATP tour veteran John Isner said, “It’s an open secret on the circuit that Andy practises regularly with the wheelie boys. He can even hit a slam-dunk smash. Until I saw it, I wouldn’t have believed a wheelchair could levitate.”
The Tokyo Paralympic Games take place from 25 August to 6 September next year.