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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Roger Federer advises Andy Murray to 'take your time' in fight to return to full fitness

Briton has not played since July and has admitted he is willing to sit out Australian Open after making 'mistake' in trying to be fit for US Open in August.

Roger Federer, left, and Andy Murray played in an exhibition in Glasgow on Tuesday, which Federer won. The world No 2 believes Andy Murray should not try and rush his return to competitive action from a hip injury. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Roger Federer, left, and Andy Murray played in an exhibition in Glasgow on Tuesday, which Federer won. The world No 2 believes Andy Murray should not try and rush his return to competitive action from a hip injury. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Roger Federer has advised Andy Murray to "take your time" in his bid to return to fitness as the Briton revealed he would miss the Australian Open in January if it meant endangering his fight to recover from a hip injury.

Murray has not played a competitive match since struggling through to the quarter-finals of this year's Wimbledon, where he was beaten by Sam Querrey of the United States.

Murray, however, is contemplating a return at the Brisbane International, which starts on December 31 and is a warm-up event for the Australian Open - the first of the sport's four annual major championships.

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Federer missed the final third of the 2016 season as he recovered from a knee injury and he has enjoyed a superb 2017, winning both the Australian Open - his first grand slam title in five years - and Wimbledon.

"Take your time, however long it takes," Federer told Murray in Glasgow after he had beaten him in an exhibition match.

"When you come back you want to be at 100 per cent, otherwise the problem is you feel you just can't beat the best at the big tournaments, so it's wise and worthwhile to take the extra week, extra month maybe.

"I'm sure Andy is going to have a lot of years left, so he shouldn't hurry, but as a professional athlete you always want to come back as quick as possible.

"You need to have goals but sometimes they need to be postponed."

Murray, for his part, said he planned to exercise caution on when he would return to competitive action.

"You never know when you're coming back from any injury, but that's what I'm working towards, for sure," said Murray.

"We have to see, but I believe that will be the case.

"When I get back on the court next year and start playing again, it might not come immediately at the beginning of the year," the two-time Wimbledon champion added.

"I have been hitting the ball very well in practice - it's just that there is a difference between that 75-80 per cent practice and going flat out at 100 per cent for two-and-a-half or three hours on the match court.

"Until I do that I can't say for certain, but I think I'll be able to come back just fine."

Murray expects to travel to Australia after opting for a course of rest and rehabilitation rather than surgery.

"Things have been going pretty well so far in the rehab, but you just never know," he said. "I've been training for a few weeks now. Some days I've felt great and some days not so good.

"But I will come back when I'm ready and when I'm 100 per cent fit. I probably made a bit of a mistake trying to get ready for the US Open but it was the last major of the year and I wanted to give it a go.

"And now it's time to give my body the rest and recovery it needs. I'll come back when I'm ready."

Murray, who was world No 1 until August, is now down to No 16 in the ATP rankings.

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