MASON, Ohio (AP) — Andy Murray smiled as he walked off the court after a brisk practice session, pain-free and moving better all the time. Retirement? Out of mind for now.
Instead, the three-time major champion is back to playing singles at a Masters event.
Murray is the first-day focus at the Western & Southern Open. A painful exit at the Australian Open left him thinking the end of his career was in sight. He had a second hip operation in January that implanted metal, eliminated the pain and totally changed his outlook.
His against-the-odds comeback takes another step when he faces Richard Gasquet in the first round Monday afternoon. A lot of challenges remain before he’s ready to play at a high level again.
“That’s the situation I’m in, and I would have signed up for being in this position I’m in six months ago, absolutely,” said Murray, wearing a shirt that said “BELIEVE” across the front. “Hopefully it makes for some exciting early round matches.”
Once the surgery eliminated the hip pain that had hobbled him for a long time, the…