Sunday Serve: Week 3

TAKE a bow Sarah Muirhead-Allwood. Who?

And why? Well, Doctor Muirhead-Allwood is the hip surgeon who operated on Andy Murray recently and admitted, that although she had carried out the procedure dozens of times (maybe hundreds), Murray was the first top-level athlete she had performed this operation on.

And why did Andy choose her: “Because she was honest.”

I like the honesty of Murray, as he battles to get back on the court.

Sunday Serve has never been a total fan, a losing Scotsman or a winning British star, but you have to admire the tenacity of the former world No.1.

Murray says he’s now pain-free but he says he will only compete at Wimbledon this year if he is confident he can avoid embarrassing himself or hurting himself further. That’s honesty.

                                                                                        Sarah Muirhead-Allwood

Wimbledon starts on July 1 but Murray told a press conference last week he will only be able to begin exercising on court towards the end of May.

Which does not give him much time to prepare – even through a warm-up tournament.

The race against time could be his undoing, sadly, but I doubt any tennis fan would see his ability to make it back on the courts of Wimbledon as letting anyone down.

“I would hate to go on the court at Wimbledon and for something bad to happen,” Murray admired.

“Or to feel really bad and apprehensive and for it to go really badly.

“I wouldn’t want that to happen. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that, going straight into a Slam without having any preparation or seeing how it feels. It’s possible (that he will be at Wimbledon). This is a big surgery and operation I’ve had.

‘The main reason for having the operation was to not be in pain any more, and I’m not. I’m delighted with that. What happens next, I don’t know exactly.”

The operation at Princess Grace Hospital in London was only supposed to last 45 minutes. It took closer to two hours because Murray’s bone was so dense.

But Murray is trying to be positive – with only perhaps a 50-50 chance of playing again.

A frustrated Andy Murray as he loses his second round match against Fernando Verdasco in New York in September. Photo: Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“I can go for a walk around the block with my kids. Six weeks ago I thought, “I can’t do that because my hip hurts,” he said.

“The last 18 months were by far the hardest for me. Now I don’t feel like I’m battling against anything. I’m just waiting to see.”

Likewise, Andy. Big don’t think you have any obligation to play for ‘us’.

It’s your body and, your pain, so make it work for you, first and foremost.

* IT may be down to just ‘preparation’ but I was caught by a headline this week that described Andy Murray’s new sponsorship deal.

Now if Murray ‘was’ planning on retirement, surely he wouldn’t be signing an eight-year deal with a clothing manufacturer?

The three-time Grand Slam champion and a former world no. ended his contract with Under Armour in January, and has now signed a new eight-year deal with Castore worth £8m.

Andy wore the brand at the Australian Open, losing to Roberto Bautista Agut in the opening round.

So, who is Castore? A small company from Liverpool, England, with sales of £4.5m in 2018 and they will try to turn a profit for the first time this year.

Here’s hoping we can see more of it – and him – this northern summer.

* FORMER World No. 1 Ilie Nastase has been sentenced to nine months and ten days in prison for a drunk driving incident in May 2018.

The ruling also came with a two-year ban, after Nastase was caught drunk by police who asked him to take an alcohol test.

He rejected the request and refused to undergo further tests. The police then caught him later the same day for driving a scooter without a licence.  So what, you might say.

Well, Nastase now looks likely to be a candidate in European Parliament elections later this year, as he is “among the best ambassadors of our country, supporting and promoting tirelessly Romania’s image abroad”, according to a local politician.

Some people have no shame.


*AND finally… Amid all the backbiting and internal feuding around who should take over as new ATP chief, one name is firming as a future boss: Anne Worcester.

With tennis in her blood since childhood and as a former WTA chief, Worcester looks a great fit.