Andy Murray hopes to return to tennis in time for the grass-court season and Wimbledon, after undergoing hip surgey in Melbourne.
Murray returned after a six-month injury lay-off in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi at the end of December. He hoped to play in Brisbane last week, but then discovered he was not ready to compete after testing himself against other top-50 players in the lead-up to the event.
Murray promptly withdrew from Brisbane, and was then told he would need surgery to fix his ongoing hip problem.
That looks set to keep him on the sidelines for another lengthy period, but Murray is adamant that the injury does not signal the end of his career.
“I’m not finished playing tennis yet. I’m going to be competing at the highest level again,” Murray told reporters during a conference call from his hospital bed at the St Vincent Hospital in Melbourne.
“I’m very optimistic about the future – the surgeon is very happy about how it went.”
Murray is hopeful he will be able to return in 14 weeks’ time, and believes if he can perform at 95% of his best, he will be able to compete at the top level again.
“My plan is to be back playing around the grass-court season – potentially before then – but I’m certainly not going to rush anything,” he said.
“I want to know when I come back that I’m ready.”
Murray admitted that if he does return, he will look to take on a reduced schedule, more focused on the Grand Slam events than working on his world ranking.
“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,” he said.
“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% 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.”