Andy Murray is confident he can get back towards the top of the game, but accepts 2020 will be a success if he just stays fit.
Murray is still in the early stages of his comeback from career-saving hip surgery last January, but he rolled back the years last month by winning the European Open in Antwerp – his first title since 2017.
That followed a promising few weeks in Asia and, after reporting no ill-effects from having a metal plate put in his joint, gave hope that he could again compete at an elite level on the men’s tour.
The competitive instinct in Murray, which helped him become a three-time grand slam champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist before his injury, still drives him on, but just being out on court is how he is now judging success.
“I think that I can (get back),” he said. “I think my body showed I’m going to be able to do that, to play at a high level.
I underwent a hip resurfacing surgery in London yesterday morning…feeling a bit battered and bruised just now but hopefully that will be the end of my hip pain 😀 I now have a metal hip as you can see in the 2nd photo 👉👉 and I look like I've got a bit of a gut in photo 1😂
A post shared by Andy Murray (@andymurray) on Jan 29, 2019 at 12:18am PST
“I would want to be healthy, that’s what I’d want, and I think over the last six months or so – definitely six to nine – you realise what really is important.
“I can remember why I started playing tennis in the first place and what the reasons for that were. I played tennis as a kid and through my professional career and I did it because I really loved playing.
“Being healthy allows me to do that. And it’s nice to be able to win big competitions and have a high ranking and stuff.
“That’s great but actually the reason why I’m playing is because I love it and I need to remember that, if I’m 30 in the world or 70 in the world.
“If I’m still enjoying it and still enjoying the preparations and training and all of that stuff, and I feel competitive, then that would be success for me, but I need to remember that.
— European Open (@EuroTennisOpen) October 20, 2019
“It’s sometimes difficult when you start playing, competing and losing matches. You really want to do better. But that would be success if I could stay healthy and on the court.”
Murray, who has launched his AMC clothing range with sportswear brand Castore, believes the key to that will be a flexible approach to his scheduling, where he could play or withdraw from tournaments at short notice.
“That’s where I need to be smart with my scheduling and the amount of tournaments that I play and, at the beginning of the year, being reactive,” he added.
“If I plan at the beginning of the year to be playing three tournaments, let’s say in the first couple of months of the year, but I only win one match in each of those tournaments, then I could add a tournament.
“But if I end up doing really well maybe I play a tournament less which, in the past, I wouldn’t have done that.
“I’m not going to be looking at my schedule and my tournament year anymore. I’m going to do it very differently.”
Murray, who has not played since that win in Antwerp after his wife gave birth to their third child, is next in action in the Davis Cup in Madrid next week.
Great Britain are favourites to progress through the group stage of the revamped tournament as they are drawn against Kazakhstan and Holland.
He added: “In terms of the group stages, I think we’ve got a good chance in the group.
“I think we can get out of the group. It’s not a gimme for us, there’s so many good combinations in terms of the Kazakh singles and Dutch doubles so we’ll need to play well to get through it.”
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