Andy Murray (Player Bio) has been forced to withdraw from the season ending ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena as he continues to recover from the back surgery he had in September. The surgery was to correct a disc problem in his lower back, a problem that has plagued him throughout the year.
After a final at the Australian Open (lost to Novak Djokovic) and a Miami Masters (d. Ferrer) title highlighted the opening months of his season, the clay season wasn’t so rewarding. He skipped the rest of the clay season after retiring against Marcel Granollers in Rome.
The rest worked wonders as he would remain unbeaten throughout the grass season winning Queens and Wimbledon. He ended the 77 year drought for a British Wimbledon winner with a straight sets victory over Novak Djokovic in one of his career highlights to date.
The injury and post-Wimbledon letdown saw him have a disappointing time in North America with early exits in Montreal and Cincinnati while he ran into an inspired Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter finals as he failed to defend his US Open title.
Deciding to cut the season short after helping Great Britain to qualify for the World Group in Davis Cup for next year, he chose to have the surgery and hopes to be back fighting fit for his annual winter training in Miami. Commenting on his withdrawal from the event, Murray said:
“I’m really disappointed not to be playing this year, I love playing in front of my home crowd, it’s a great atmosphere, all the players look forward to competing in London and I’ll be doing my best to qualify again for the tournament next year.”
Being able to hit the ground running next year after sufficient rest should help Murray as he seeks his first Australian Open title. A losing finalist in three of the past four years, Murray will hope to finally get the better of Novak Djokovic in Melbourne, having defeated the Serbian in both of his slam victories.
Rafael Nadal’s return has showed the benefits of the not returning too early. Rumours circled that he may have been fit enough to play the Australian Open this year but he bided his time and made a return during the South American clay swing, following it up with one of the best years in his career.
Murray will most likely fall to fourth in the rankings at some point this year but there is little of danger of dropping further, something that will be vital to his grand slam chances early in the year.