Injury updates: Kvitová out as Murray and Sharapova plot returns
The clay season saw many players emerge from the shadows and continue their progression from injury without disruption, but the second Grand Slam of the year was also notable for some of the bigger names absent from the draw.
Andy Murray was, of course, one of these, and he has not featured on any schedules since the Australian Open, when he crashed out after a five-set thriller in the first round. He has since undergone a hip resurfacing treatment, and addressed rumours that he could be plotting a comeback this season.
Saying that he is now “pretty much pain-free”, the next step is to get back out on the practice courts, and competing in singles once again is clearly still on his mind “at some stage this year”. His beloved Wimbledon is thought to come too soon for any dramatic return, though some doubles could well be on the cards in the next month or two.
Describing the next moments as “baby steps” to make sure that he does not rush back too fast and cause himself any damage, he said that he is “not really interested in putting a time limit on it because I’m quite happy just now”, and has spoken recently of being delighted just to carry out daily tasks without pain.
If things go well with Feliciano López, his new doubles partner at Queens next week, he is aiming to compete in doubles in the next Grand Slam.
Maria Sharapova is also stepping up her comeback, with attempts to get back on the court after a right shoulder injury finally making some headway.
The Russian Grand Slam winner will be taking on a wildcard for the Mallorca Open next week, with the aim of testing out her recovery after having some minor surgery on her arm to curtail the pain that has plagued her in the last year or so. Her main challenge in the Spanish island will be in the form of Amanda Anisimova, the young American star who wowed many in the French Open last week by beating defending champion Simona Halep on her way to the last four.
One player who will not be returning so soon is Petra Kvitová, whose injury troubles kept her out of Roland-Garros and prevented her march up the rankings from continuing.
The aim for the Czech star was to enter in the Birmingham Classic in the UK in the run-up to Wimbledon and the grass season, but it has come too soon as she carries on rehabilitation work.
Words: Danielle Nixon