The fall of Andy Murray in 2017 was an extra painful one.
The Scot had enjoyed 2016 with unprecedented success – as reigning Wimbledon champion, Olympic champion, ATP World Tour champion, and world number one – enough to see him knighted in January 2017 despite still being an active sportsman.
But starting on such a high just made the rest of the year seem even more torrid as injuries took their toll.
The Australian Open was a major disappointment as Murray failed to get past the fourth round, while Stan Wawrinka dumped him out at the French Open semi-final stage.
Murray had hoped to rebound at Queen’s club as he set about defending his Wimbledon crown but infamously lost to Jordan Thompson, only in the tournament as a ‘lucky loser’, in the very first round.
Wimbledon followed in a similar fashion as Murray went out in the quarter-finals against 24th seed Sam Querry and finally succumbed to his hip injury.
That match remains the last time Murray played competitive tennis and in January this year, he underwent hip surgery to hopefully eradicate the problem that crippled his previous season.
Now, however, it looks like the two-time Wimbledon champion could finally be making his comeback – and he’s taking an extra step this year to prepare himself for his grand return.
Queen’s Club usually represents the beginning of the grass court season for Murray as his Wimbledon warm-up, but this year the 30-year-old will compete in the Netherlands at the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships for the very first time.
“I am looking forward to getting back on the grass and to play Rosmalen for the first time,” said Murray.
“I’ve heard lots of good things about the tournament and the courts are meant to be very good – it’s the perfect way for me to prepare for Wimbledon”
Murray is still set to compete at Queen’s but will forego the clay court season, meaning he’s going all out on grass with an intense push to be ready for the year’s major championship.
Wimbledon simply wouldn’t be the same without Murray at the tournament – he is, after all, far and away the finest British tennis player of the open era.
Whether he can get back to the sort of level required to actually compete for the trophy is debatable – and a step too far, in all likelihood.
Still, he’s accomplished dreams many thought would never happen before – you can’t write him off just yet.