Nino Severino: Andy Murray is a winner - and he can get back to the top
PUBLISHED: 11:19 26 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:19 26 June 2019
In his latest column, Nino Severino welcomes Sir Andy Murray back to the tennis courts - and predicts how far he can go in his comeback from serious injury.
It's hard to believe that another year has passed, and we are back round to the brink of arguably the biggest tennis show on earth, Wimbledon.
And what an incredible last few months it has been, with Anne Keothavong leading the British Women's Fed Cup Team to the World Group, Jo Konta finding her form to regain her place at the top of world tennis, and of course the return of our tennis treasure, Sir Andy Murray.
I can't express how happy it makes me feel to see Andy back, with a body that looks stronger than ever and a smile that clearly shows how much he missed the sport he loves.
Any professional athlete will be able to tell you how hurtful the periods of injury can be, especially when the body is injured so badly it requires surgery.
I've worked with a number of athletes that have experienced this and, I can tell you, it can be a very upsetting place for the whole team, and an extremely dark place for the athlete themselves.
As any tennis fan will know, Andy was in a really bad place physically, his hip was causing him incredible pain which he had been enduring over years, and finally led to the decision that surgery was the only option.
When an athlete such as Andy unfortunately needs surgery, its not only the body that receives a massive hammer blow, it's the mind as well.
The consultants, surgeons, physios and rehabilitation specialists will take care of the body - and I must say, what an incredible job Andy's team have done - but it's the athlete themselves that need to deal with the deep dark cavities of the mind.
The physical element is bad enough, but it's the mental and psychological anguish that compounds the experience, especially in Andy's case, where the injury was very much career threatening.
You may also want to watch:
Somehow, and I really do not know how, he managed to show the world his emotions in Melbourne at the Australian Open, suggesting that he felt his time in tennis had come to an end - he opened his heart and showed how much the sport of tennis meant to him, the thought of never playing again was heart-breaking for him.
After this, he needed to endure the surgery, then the hundreds of hours of mind-numbing physiotherapy work, all under the mental darkness of probably never being able to play tennis at world class level again.
But of course, Andy Murray is no ordinary athlete, he is a tennis legend, and my goodness, the way he has dealt with this terrible experience proves what we all know in the tennis world - this man is a complete spartan, an individual who is not only a sophisticated, technical and tactical player, but a man who is mentally powerful.
From a position that looked very depressing, he has found the mental and physical strength to pull off the almost impossible, and find himself back on the grass, playing world class tennis, holding aloft the doubles trophy at Queen's last week with his partner Feliciano Lopez!
When I looked at the images that represented this great victory, it gave me a rush of goose pimples, this was the stuff of dreams.
I knew this was not simply one man winning a marquee doubles title at a big event, this is a man who is thinking big again, and when you watched the way he was commanding and controlling his body around the court, and pulling off the classic Murray shots, we can all start dreaming that his name might again be listed among the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Andy is currently playing doubles once again at Eastbourne, an incredible tournament, and I am fortunate enough to be attending, representing The Elena Baltacha Foundation.
We will be taking a group of girls from Ipswich to watch some elite tennis, and what a dream it will be for these girls if they can watch Sir Andy Murray fight for another title.
So where now for Andy? Well, I can give you my thoughts. Andy looks mentally and physically stronger than ever, and it would be insane to think that he is not now focused on one thing - if only subconsciously - to get back to the top of the ATP rankings and, once again, set his sights on more Grand Slam titles.
I'm sure for many who are reading this they may think I am mad, but Andy is a winner - he has it running through his veins, and a big individual return at the US Open is now a reality for him.
This thought will make the millions of tennis fans who follow and support him around the world very excited - for me, it's just incredible to know we have our very own Andy Murray back doing what he does best.