US Open to host temporary hospital & Federer back in action31 March 2020 / Miguel Coelho
What's been happening in Tennis during the last few days?
Roland-Garros 2017. Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka were ready to produce a match for the records book. However, the aftermath for both players was not the one desired.
4 hours and 34 minutes. That was the duration of the clash between these two top players in a memorable Roland-Garros semifinal, with Stan The Man coming victorious by 6-7,6-3,5-7,7-6,6-1. Andy Murray came in this tournament very much unprepared and in need of game time in clay environment, the complete opposite for Wawrinka as he was projected as one of the favourites to take home the title. The Scottish had a lingering problem on his hip since the start of the year, something that was affecting him on his early performances. On the other hand, the Swiss was carrying a problem in his knee as well, as he performed against Roger Federer in Australian Open semifinal with a bandage to support his left knee.
It was in 2017 on Wimbledon that the downfall started for Andy and Stan. The Swiss crumbled in the 1st round to Daniil Medvedev. Visibly in pain, with none to little lateral movement, he knew the problem was bigger than what he expected. He went on to have multiple surgeries on his left knee and the return to the courts was something that wasn’t guaranteed. His comeback started at Australian Open in the following year, but it was clear that his body was not ready as he lost to Tennys Sandgren, an unknown player at the time, in the 2nd round of the tournament. He slowly played himself into game shape, recording his best result in Rotterdam, reaching the Final against Gael Monfils. However, things have been looking brighter and brighter for Stan, with him reaching two Quarter-Finals in Grand Slams in 2019, although he hasn’t shown the consistency he had pre-injury. Could 2020 be a big opportunity to turn on the switch again? He’s not getting younger and opposition is growing as time goes by… next year should be decisive for Wawrinka.
As for Andy Murray, after that grueling semifinal at the French Open, he was still able to make a deep run in his favourite tournament of the tour. He reached the quarter-final in Wimbledon on that same year, losing to Sam Querrey in five sets. However, he had one of the hardest decisions afterwards. A hip replacement surgery was almost a death sentence in his tennis career. He tried to let the injury heal for himself, but the problem was still there, as he declared before the Australian Open 2019 that retirement was the most certain thing to happen during the year. A tribute video was even displayed at the big screens after his loss to Roberto Bautista Agut, where players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic congratulated him on an amazing career. The surgery was set to happen after the Grand Slam, with everyone’s thinking that they would never see Murray back on a tennis court. Fast forward to now, not only he’s back, as he’s already won a singles title in Antwerp, curiously against Stan Wawrinka, in a final that felt scripted by Steven Spielberg due to the drama and emotion surrounding it. The question above for Wawrinka, remains the same for Andy Murray. Can 2020 be the year where both these top players revitalize themselves? Or were their surgeries too impactful for them to bring the level previously displayed?
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