From the news

Murray planning grass-court return after hip surgery

  • ontennis
  • 08 January 2018
  • 11:01

Andy Murray is plotting a return "around the grass-court season" after undergoing hip surgery.

Murray has not played since his five-set defeat to Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarter-finals last year.

The Briton battled hip issues throughout that tournament but, after subsequently pulling out of the US Open to focus on 2018, was expected to return at the Australian Open next week.

However, having missed the Brisbane International with hip pain, he then withdrew from the opening major of the year, raising concerns as to whether the three-time grand slam champion will ever return to the form that saw him rise to world number one.

But Murray is confident he can still challenge for titles post-surgery and hopes to make his comeback on his favourite surface, with Wimbledon starting on July 2.

"I'm not finished playing tennis yet. I'm going to be competing at the highest level again," Murray told a number of British tennis writers.

"I'm very optimistic about the future - the surgeon is very happy about how it went.

"My plan is to be back playing around the grass-court season - potentially before then - but I'm certainly not going to rush anything. I want to know when I come back that I'm ready."

Murray added he has received assurances from the surgeon that he will feel improvement in his hip, but will be playing a lighter schedule when he does return.

"I want to come back when I'm fit and ready to play, not to get into a situation like in Brisbane or New York, where I'm unsure when I turn up at a tournament how fit I am," he said.

"The surgeon felt that my hip will be feeling better than it did a year ago. Obviously, I was still doing fine a year ago - I was ranked number one in the world.

"I'm certainly not going to be putting in the same amount of tournaments and effort to try to get to number one in the world. I'll be playing a reduced schedule, and then focusing more on trying to win major events and big tournaments rather than trying to achieve certain ranking goals.

"I've been fairly competitive with top-50 players in the world in Brisbane when I'm struggling to move, and I made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon when I literally couldn't walk and was in so much pain.

"So if I can get myself to 95 per cent of my best, I believe that's enough to compete at the highest level. No question.

"The rest of my body feels fantastic. I feel really, really good physically apart from this one issue. The surgery allows me to extend my hip well, and I'll be able to sprint."

The 30-year-old is also hopeful he can play when eldest daughter Sophia has "a small understanding of what it is I've done for my living".

He added: "That would be cool if she can come along and watch me hit some balls or practise just to see what it is I do.

"I like watching and seeing a lot of the other kids when they are on the tour with their parents."

With Murray out, Novak Djokovic battling an elbow issue and Rafael Nadal heading to Melbourne without having played a warm-up event, Roger Federer is the heavy favourite to retain the Australian Open title.

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