Andy Murray eyes lighter schedule and hints at reducing clay-court events

Andy Murray admits he would like to play a reduced schedule in future and cutting back on the number of clay-court events he enters could be one of the ways to ease the load.

After undergoing hip surgery in January, the 31-year-old made his return in June, but he has so far played only 10 matches.

He also announced over the weekend that he will end his season after two tournaments in China as he wants a “long period of training and reconditioning to get myself in the best shape possible for the beginning of the 2019 season”.

Players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have opted to reduce their schedules as they want to prolong their playing careers and Murray is likely to take a leaf out of their books.

“What’s relevant is really how many matches you’re winning. If you play a reduced schedule – like 10 or 11 tournaments in a year – but you only win 10 matches, playing 20 matches in a year is not really enough,” he told Sky Sports during an interview.

“You ideally want to have a lighter schedule and be winning matches. When you’re coming back from a long lay-off, when rankings drop and you’re not seeded in tournaments, it’s difficult to do that.

“I’ll manage my schedule based on how I’m doing in the tournaments. If I’m winning a lot of matches then I’ll certainly reduce the amount [of tournaments] than what I used to play.

“I think in the 2016 season, which was my best year on the Tour, I think I played 15 or 16 tournaments. It’s not really that many over the course of a year, but if you’re winning lots it can add up to being like 80 matches, which is significant.

“I’ll try to reduce more the number of matches I play rather than worrying about entering tournaments or not.

“If I win a tournament, I can always skip the following week, which is something I’ve not done in the past.”

Federer, of course, has in recent years skipped the entire clay-court season so that he can focus on the grass and hard-court events and, while Murray is unlikely to miss the entire red dirt swing, he is considering cutting back his clay schedule.

The three-time Grand Slam winner added: “Maybe during the clay-court season I might look to reduce my schedule a little bit there, play a bit less potentially to give myself bigger chunks in the year where I’m giving myself time to train and let my body rest and recover.

“Again that is probably something I haven’t done much over the years, but that’s how the tennis schedule works.”

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