Andy Murray: I am surprised with how smooth it has been

Andy Murray

The body still hurts and the muscles are tired after the recent exertions during the Asian swing, but Andy Murray admits he is delighted with his progress since returning to singles action.

Murray played in three tournaments the past three weeks and besides producing some impressive results, he came through unscathed.

After making his ATP Tour singles return in mid-August, he dropped down to the Challenger Tour for one event before moving back up for at the backend of September.

He has played seven matches (two in Zhuhai, three in Beijing and two in Shanghai) and five of those matches were three setters so needless to say he is quite pleased with how things have gone.

“I am surprised with how smooth it has been,” he told The Times. “I had two years of having lots of pain after every single match. Now I play a match, the body hurts, I have some pain in my back, the muscles are tired and things like that, but my hip is fine and I couldn’t remember what that was like before.

“It has been hard but I expected it to be quite a bumpy road because it wasn’t something that has been done in tennis before. I know having done this that you will see way more athletes having this operation and coming back to compete, because there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to. There is no pain.”

The three-time Grand Slam winner had admitted at the start of the Asian swing that he still had some work to do before he could challenge the top 30 players in the world again, but he could some feathers in his cap in recent weeks.

He took world No 24 Alex de Minaur to three sets in Zhuhai, beat world No 13 Matteo Berrettini in straight sets in Beijing and taking world No 12 Fabio Fognini to three sets in Shanghai.

He added: “I have been competitive so far. If I can keep improving a few things over the next few months, then maybe there is an outside chance I can get around there. But I am not going to be playing a similar schedule to what I played beforehand. If I do get up there, I’m not going to be focusing on ranking targets.

“You look at what Roger, Rafa [Nadal] and I guess Novak [Djokovic], to a certain extent, are doing to give themselves a chance to play longer. Right now, Rafa could be fighting to finish No 1 in the world [with Djokovic, the incumbent] and it’s not a priority for him.”

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