Andy Murray and his quest for personal redemption

“I don’t plan to stop right now. But this one will take a little while to get over. Hopefully find the motivation again to keep training, keep pushing, try and keep getting better. I had a long think about things, spoke to my family, decided to keep on going.”

Those were the words of Andy Murray after a bitterly disappointing loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon last month. Having led by two sets to one, Murray’s Greek opponent hit back to deliver another damaging blow to Murray at SW19.

But despite the disappointment, Murray is clear that he won’t be retiring just yet. Within the Scot there is still a spark of belief that he will reascend to the summit of tennis and enjoy one last moment in the sun before he calls time on his career.

Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that such a resurgence is unlikely. Murray has not progressed beyond the third round of a Grand Slam since he reached the semi-finals of the French Open in 2017. Each year he asserts that he is feeling better than ever and that a deep run in one of the sport’s biggest tournaments is around the corner, but at the moment he can’t back up his words on the court.

The upcoming US Open offers a fresh chance for Murray to do the business. Although he won’t be particularly well fancied in the US Open tennis odds, perhaps the familiar surroundings of Flushing Meadows, where he claimed his maiden Grand Slam triumph back in 2012, will act as inspiration for the Scot, but he’ll need to overcome some red-hot players if he is to have any chance of going far.

It’s hard to say where Murray’s continued push for greatness in tennis is coming from. He has had a magnificent career in the sport, winning three Grand Slams and enjoying over a decade as one of the top players in the men’s game. So why does he continue to push his ailing body to the limit?

One possible reason is that Murray feels his time at the top was cruelly cut short. Injuries have ravaged the Scot throughout his career, but especially in the years since his last Wimbledon title in 2016. He has required extensive surgery, which has at times made it look as though his playing career was over. Having put the work in to recover, perhaps Murray feels he owes it to himself to earn redemption.

With Roger Federer retired, and Rafael Nadal taking a break from the sport, this year’s US Open may look on the surface like a good opportunity for Murray to enjoy a deep run. But the landscape in men’s tennis has changed dramatically in the last couple of years. New players have come to the fore, and it’s much harder for the old guard, like Murray and Stan Wawrinka, to compete.

Murray’s continued efforts appear to be a personal mission to prove to himself that he still has what it takes to compete in the world’s biggest events. While the end of his career is undoubtedly in sight, the 36-year-old will still have hope that there is one last major statement to be made before then.