Andy Murray’s confidant Nick Kyrgios offered a public vote of support for his friend today in Brisbane, wishing Murray the best of luck as he attempts to overcome an intractable hip problem.
Yet while Kyrgios did his best to sound positive about the situation, he also admitted that the prospect of hip surgery – something he himself might have to face at some stage – is “very scary” and “the absolute last resort”.
Murray has already pulled out of the Brisbane International, where Kyrgios defeated fellow Australian Matt Ebden today in three sets, and must now be considered the longest of long shots to appear in the Australian Open on Monday week.
A decision is expected at some point in the next couple of days on his next move, but after almost six months of fruitless rest and recuperation, it is difficult to see how he can avoid taking a gamble and opting for keyhole surgery.
“It’s pretty sad,” Kyrgios told reporters. “I think he's definitely a fan favourite. He brings a lot of the people to all these tournaments. And he's a good friend of mine.
“It's just sad seeing a guy like that getting injured. Because you saw him at Wimbledon struggling and, obviously, [he has] been struggling ever since. It sucks, seeing him not being able to get it right. He's been rehabbing now for almost five months.
“I don't know what he's going to do. I'm not an expert. But hopefully he can get better.”
Kyrgios suffered a hip injury of his own at Queen’s last summer, slipping over during his first-round match, and the area has remained a problem for him ever since. He cited his problematic hip as his reason for ending his 2017 season early, after a bad loss at the Belgium Open in October.
“It's not comfortable,” Kyrgios said, when asked about hip injuries in general. “And it definitely affects especially a guy like that who relies on his movement and athleticism so much.
“I think he [Murray] is one of the best athletes the game has ever seen. He's going to have to get his hip right to get to the top of the sport again, and hopefully he can do it.
“I've been given a hip programme that I have to do pretty much every day and that's all I kind of do in the gym. I don't think anyone ever really wants to get cut open. That's the absolute last resort. You don't really know the success rate of anything like that. So it's tough. It's very scary.”