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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Andy Murray vows to return 'at the highest level' after undergoing successful hip surgery

Former world No 1 has been troubled by injury since last year and has not played competitively since Wimbledon in July. 

Andy Murray, pictured last week on the practice courts at the Brisbane International, is aiming to be back in action in time for the grass court season. Glenn Hunt / EPA
Andy Murray, pictured last week on the practice courts at the Brisbane International, is aiming to be back in action in time for the grass court season. Glenn Hunt / EPA

Former world No 1 Andy Murray has vowed to return and “compete at the highest level” after undergoing hip surgery in Melbourne on Monday.

Murray, 30, has been troubled by an ongoing hip injury since last season and has not played competitively since a July defeat to Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

The three-time grand slam champion made a brief appearance in Abu Dhabi in a one-set exhibition against Roberto Bautista Agut but subsequently withdrew from the Brisbane International and the Australian Open.

In an emotional post on Instagram to provide an update on his injury status, Murray said surgery was a “secondary option” due to the risk involved. However, on Monday he released a statement to reveal that surgery has been undertaken and was successful.

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"I'm not finished playing tennis yet. I'm going to be competing at the highest level again," he said.

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

Murray, a three-time grand slam champion, is not targeting a specific return to action, but has earmarked the start of the grass court season as a realistic aim.

"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.

"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.”

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Murray’s lengthy layoff has seen him slide down the ATP world rankings to No 19, but a return to top spot is far from a priority at present, instead focusing first on his rehabilitation before ensuring he is in the best possible condition for the four grand slam tournaments.

"The surgeon felt that my hip will be feeling better than it did a year ago," Murray said. "Obviously, I was still doing fine a year ago - I was ranked No 1 in the world.

"I'm certainly not going to be putting in the same amount of tournaments and effort to try to get to No 1 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."

There had been growing concerns that the hip injury could be serious enough to force Murray into retirement, but the two-time Wimbledon champion is determined to return to court in order for his daughter, Sophia, to watch him so she can have a "a small understanding of what it is I've done for my living".

"That would be cool if she can come along and watch me hit some balls or practice just to see what it is I do," he said.

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

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