Are Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic a doubt for Wimbledon?
By Joe Harker
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are targeting appearances at Wimbledon but run the risk of not being ready to compete in the Grand Slam. Both have struggled with injuries and cannot rush back to tennis so quickly, though neither will want to miss Wimbledon.
Murray was expecting to return at the Libema Open but his hip injury is not fully healed and he will instead target a comeback at Queen's, the tournament right before Wimbledon. His hip injury has been a constant problem for the last decade according to Murray and he risked an operation in January. While it was a success, he has been careful not to rush back and aggravate the injury.
At this point another bad blow could be career ending. His last competitive game was a five set defeat to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon where he won just one game in each of the last two sets. Having not played for almost a year, Wimbledon is the ultimate target for Murray. He said: "I've been out getting close to a year now which is a lot longer than I think me or any of my team expected at the beginning.
"But I'm getting closer to playing again. I've started training a few days ago and hoping to make my comeback during the grass court season."
Djokovic was defeated in four sets during the French Open by Marco Cecchinato and afterwards cast doubt on whether he would compete at Wimbledon. The 12 time Grand Slam champion had an operation on his elbow in January and was carrying an injury to his shoulder. Further demoralised by the defeat at the French Open, he may be considering sitting out the grass season. He said: "I don't know if I'm going to play on grass.
"I don't know what I'm going to do. I cannot give you any answer. I'm just not thinking about tennis at the moment."
It might be crisis point for Djokovic in his career, having last won a Grand Slam in 2016 and struggled ever since, reaching one more final at the 2016 US Open and not progressing beyond the quarter finals from that point onwards. He's won 68 titles in his career but since his last Grand Slam there have only been four.
The Terminator-like efficiency is gone, replaced by a talented player struggling with injuries and confidence. As they get older many players choose to sit out tournaments played on surfaces they struggle with. It might be time for Djokovic to adapt his game and accept he's getting older.
It would be a shame if Murray and Djokovic weren't able to play at Wimbledon, but as the top players of the current generation move on and consider retirement it is exciting to see who steps up to take their place.