The National Bank Open, formerly Rogers Cup

Damien’s Spin: ATP injuries, comebacks abound

April 17, 2019

It’s a little early to be wondering when Andy Murray might be back in action. After all, it was only in January that he opted to have hip surgery that he worried might end his career.

But the three-time Rogers Cup champion released some pictures recently showing himself hitting tennis balls. So a comeback is very much on his mind, despite the fond farewells he received at this year’s Australian Open.

What’s interesting for Rogers Cup fans, meanwhile, is that if you look at the recovery timeline of Bob Bryan, who had similar surgery as Murray last year, it’s may not be beyond the realm of possibility that the 31-year-old Murray could show up in Montreal this August.

Bob, and his brother Mike, were reunited in March after 40-year-old Bob underwent hip replacement surgery last August.

While Bob was sidelined, Mike teamed up with fellow American Jack Sock to win both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year.

The plan, of course, was always that the brothers, five times Rogers Cup champions, would re-unite. Eight months after Bob’s surgery, the Bryans won their 117th doubles title in Delray Beach and then followed that up with their 118th at the Miami Open.

“What Bob is doing I think is inspiring to a lot of players,” said Roger Federer. He’s not just playing a little bit, he’s winning, and that is just beautiful to watch.”

Bryan’s recovery, needless to say, has shocked everyone, from his doctors to those doubting he’d be back at all.

“A doctor was cutting me open eight months ago and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it back on court,” he said after winning in Miami. “To win this title is a dream and certainly wasn’t possible eight months ago.”

Bob Bryan has been in frequent contact with Murray, counselling him on the surgery and his recovery, always noting Murray’s path back would be more difficult despite the fact Murray is younger because singles is more physically demanding.

But if Bryan was able to be back in championship form eight months after his surgery, applying that timeline to Murray could theoretically have him back for Montreal.

Worth keeping an eye on.

Turns out John Isner is a pretty good doctor.

Isner thought he had possibly broken his left foot during a loss in the Miami Open final to Federer, and tests confirmed he indeed had suffered a stress fracture. He’s expected to be out four to six weeks, and may return for the Madrid Open.

For now, he’s recuperating at home in Dallas.

“Being on the shelf right now, as far as times of the season go, it’s not a horrible time,” he said. “It’s just foreign to me because I’m so used to training when I’m home and working out and being very, very active.”

He owned one of the truly sublime, effortless one-handed backhands in the world. But at a time when players on the men’s tour are playing well into their thirties, Nicolas Almagro has been forced by injuries to announce his retirement at age 33.

Almagro hasn’t won a tour match since September, 2017.

Over his career he won 13 titles and almost $11 million in prize money, reaching as high as No. 9 in the world rankings. He got to the quarters of the French Open three times, each time losing to Rafael Nadal.

His best Rogers Cup result came in 2011 when he lost in the quarters in Montreal.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, back on clay for the first time since 2017, has shown some fine form in Morocco last week, including a straight sets victory over Kyle Edmund, the tournament’s third seed

Tsonga, 33, missed seven months last year with knee surgery. Earlier this year he won an ATP 250 tourney in Montpellier, France.

Tennis fans are still waiting on Juan Martin del Potro, who pulled out of Miami and has played only three matches this season. The Argentinian suffered a fractured right patella last October, and announced last week he’s starting a “new regenerative treatment” and hopes to “compete again on tour in the near future.”