Andy Murray Should Be Concerned as Stars Rise in His Absence

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 8, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  Andy Murray of Great Britain during the new Head Graphene Radical tennis racket launch at Queen's Club on October 31, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images for HEAD)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

BBC Sport in mid-September announced that Andy Murray would seek to correct a longstanding back issue with surgery and that the 2013 Wimbledon champion would be unlikely to play again this season.

With tennis being as cyclical as any other sport in terms of its champions and the power distribution at the top of the game, this meant a great deal to not only the Scot but to his regular opponents and other top seeds.

While Murray has been away from competition, the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the usual suspects, have all experienced their respective bumps in form.

This is of course due to one less elite-standard obstacle being in their way. While everyone on the ATP tour is of a certain standard, when a talent such as Murray is absent, many tennis stars won't lose sleep over his injury.

For example, David Ferrer has made three finals in the last month alone. That's half the amount he had managed all year prior to Murray backing out (no pun intended) from competition.

Juan Martin Del Potro is another player who has benefited from Murray's absence. In the last month, the Argentine has reached three ATP finals, matching the amount he had managed over the course of 2013 leading up to October.

Murray should be worried about this in the event that he comes back less than the superior athlete he was prior to bowing out.

While he's been out of action, the 26-year-old has watched players he might have beaten on the way to his own tournament finals get stronger and more experienced. They're lapping up the added freedom that's been injected to the tennis scene of late.

According to the Daily Mail's Mike Dawes, Murray has been continuing his recovery at Chelsea, making use of the facilities on hand so that he might make a return in time for the 2014 season.

When he returns, however, the Wimbledon titleholder may find that the landscape has changed. He may no longer be the figure he was before his departure and may have to re-lay some foundations brick by brick.