ANDY MURRAY is hoping to be back to the peak of his physical powers in time for the 2020 Australian Open after making his singles return.
The former world number one (pictured) was back on court as a singles player on Monday for the first time since having hip surgery last year.
Although he lost 6-4 6-4 to Richard Gasquet at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, there were positive signs as Murray competed well and reported no pain in his hip afterwards.
Despite that, he has still opted to not play in the US Open later this month where he he will compete in the men’s and mixed doubles.
But the Scot intends to play a full schedule in the Asian swing of the ATP tour in the autumn and hopes to be back to his best in time for January’s Australian Open.
‘I think nine to 12 months after the operation is when I would expect to be getting close to the best that I can be physically — and speed wise I should be fully recovered by 12 months,’ Murray said.
‘Speeds have improved, but they are quite linear speeds, and repeatable tests, whereas on a match court you are changing direction and having to react to balls and anticipate.
‘The way to get that back is by playing matches. You can hit as many speed targets as you like, but once you get out on court it’s very different. I don’t feel I was very slow out on the court (against Gasquet), but I was not as quick as I would have liked.’
Murray says only time on the court will get him back to his best in terms of his tennis.
‘I’m certainly not going to go backwards from here,’he added.
‘Every time I’ve practised singles so far, it’s all just been practice sets because I was trying to get back on the match court.
‘But once you actually get out there and start playing you realise, ‘Wow,’ my return needs to get better, I need to improve my serve. I need to get myself on the practice court and work on those things specifically.
‘It will be exciting and interesting to see how I get on.
‘It’s not something that’s been tried or done before in tennis. Hopefully if it goes well it will be an option for more athletes down the line.’