Dr Edwin Su believes hip resurfacing surgery can help Andy Murray return to the top level of tennis.
The former world number one is expected to make a decision over the coming week whether to have the operation or prepare for a farewell appearance at Wimbledon this summer.
Dr Su is a world-leading expert in the surgery and has helped a number of professional athletes return to their sport, including doubles specialist Bob Bryan, who is playing at the Australian Open less than six months after going under the knife.
Bryan has recommended Su to Murray, although the much greater physical demands of singles means there are no guarantees of a similar outcome.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Su said: “I think it would absolutely be able to help him. Ideally, it is with no pain. Most of the time, right away from the time they wake up from the surgery, patients say that the pain is gone.
“It is really miraculous. There is then healing and soft-tissue pain but, once they start feeling better, they are able to do the things they used to do. They can regain their normal life.
“What is unknown in elite athletes is whether they can return to sport. There is no guarantee in any medical procedure but, given he has been able to continue his performance at such a high level with a bad hip, I would guess the new hip would function better.
“I believe it could get him back to the top level. It does raise the question of whether or not that level of activity would affect the implant’s longevity. In our experience it doesn’t seem to. Some of my patients have done ultra-marathons with 15,000 miles on the new hip.”
Su believes the timescale for a return would be similar to Bryan’s meaning, if Murray had the surgery soon, he could even be back for Wimbledon.
“Singles is much more strenuous than doubles,” he added. “It’s uncharted territory. No one has done it and returned in singles tennis and it would require more endurance in the muscle to cover the court but, based on the previous operations of sportsmen in basketball and hockey, who also have to move quickly, I think he could do it.
“Murray means a lot to the sport and I think he has got a lot of great tennis left in him. We just have to give him a great hip.”
Judy Murray, meanwhile, has added to the family criticism of the Lawn Tennis Association by claiming their new high performance programme will not work.
Two new national academies in Stirling and Loughborough are due to open later this year with the aim of preparing the leading juniors for professional success.
Murray said: “You need a training environment where they will all push each other. It’s not enough to say, ‘Let’s pick the best four and put them into a great big hothouse environment and provide them with everything’.
“It absolutely won’t work. You need volume, which is what I am trying to do with the grass roots.”
Andy and Jamie Murray have both criticised the governing body for not making the most of their success in terms of growing the game.
- Press Association