The American doubles champion Bob Bryan, who is back on a tennis court five months after having a metal implant in his hip, says the surgeon who saved his career can do the same for Andy Murray, who is seriously considering having the operation.The American doubles champion Bob Bryan, who is back on a tennis court five months after having a metal implant in his hip, says the surgeon who saved his career can do the same for Andy Murray, who is seriously considering having the operation.Desperate for one more appearance, at least, at Wimbledon this summer, Murray has already spoken to the doctor, Edwin Su, of the world-renowned Hospital For Special Surgery in New York, and Bryan says: “I think he’s going to have the surgery.”
Murray, who limped away from the Australian Open in agony on Monday night, will decide in the next week whether to postpone the operation and try to play Wimbledon just on the work done with a physiotherapist, or walk away from tennis forever and have the operation now to improve his quality of life. The odds are on the latter, but Bryan – a 23-times grand slam doubles champion – thinks Murray is capable of defying them and playing again.
“Dr Su has put a guy back in Major League Baseball, an NBA guy, put a guy back in NHL. He’s never had a guy back in singles in tennis, but he’s the only guy that will give you a chance to come back to professional sports.
“I think Andy could do it. I don’t underestimate him. You look at the great workers in history: [Ivan] Lendl, [Jim] Courier, [Andy] Roddick. This guy is maybe even a step up from those guys. No one’s done more research about hips, doctors. He already knew my doctor, all the cases. The guy is knowledgable beyond belief on the hip, on the surgery.
Andy has spoken to Dr Su. I don’t know who Andy is going to choose if he goes down this route, but I would recommend him. He’s a tennis fan – he knows it inside and out.
“The operation is called hip resurfacing, with an artificial implant. It’s a full replacement, has the bar that goes all the way down the femur. This is a little more – a sports, high-performance, smaller metal implant. I was on crutches a couple days after the operation, on 2 August. I was at the US Open three weeks after surgery with a cane. At the end of September, I was hitting some light balls. We started our training December 5, hitting some balls pretty hard, playing some sets.”
Bryan is now back in grand slam action and won his first-round men’s doubles match in Melbourne alongside his brother Mike on Wednesday – the pair, semi-finalists here last year, won two tie-breaks to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt and Marc Polman in straight sets 7-6 (4), 7-6 (1).
He added: “I just presented an option for him. That guy does everything you can possibly do as far as training and rehab. He’s talked to a million specialists. But I’m really the only guy to be playing on tour with a metal hip. So he’s been watching me like a hawk, asking me how I’m feeling after matches, after practices, where I’m at. He’s trying to gauge how long it would take him, if this procedure is an option.
“I never once told him this is the way to go, because I do see that singles is a different monster. Those guys are really sliding around, killing themselves for four hours. Who knows if this joint would hold up? It’s not going to break, but who knows if you have that little explosiveness needed to be super-quick on the singles court? If you’re a step slow, it’s very exposed out there on a singles court.
I’m just telling him, I feel great, quality of life is great, practices are going well. Maybe I’m not 100% yet, but I’m only five months in. The doctors said: ‘This is more of like seven or eight months until you feel perfect.’
“Until I feel that, I can’t give you the guarantee, but I think he’s to the point where this is probably his last option.”