Andy Murray believes he may need a full year to get back to full fitness, as he dampens down expectations surrounding his return to singles action.
Murray looked in good shape as he played doubles in three grass court tournaments over recent weeks, with his exit from the Wimbledon Mixed doubles alongside partner Serena Williams ending his hopes of a trophy to conclude the first phase of his comeback.
Now he has told the BBC that he will need a lengthy period of recuperation before he considers a return to singles action, as he went into great detail over the medical advice he has been given since his hip resurfacing surgery in January.
“Now my Wimbledon is over, my focus will switch to doing a lot of physical work over the next four to six weeks to improve the strength in my hip,” he stated. “That means a lot of heavy weightlifting in the gym, which is a part of training that I don’t particularly enjoy doing.
“During a hip resurfacing operation, where the head of the femur is capped by metal, a lot of muscles are severed and stitched back up so it takes a lot of time and needs hard physical work to recover properly. That strength is not going to come back in just three or four months, it could take nine or 12 months.
“I need to get those muscles back to a certain level before I can go on a singles court and try to play best of five sets, otherwise I could do damage if the strength isn’t there. I’m happy to be pain-free and want to get my hip as good as it can be, then once it is strong again I can get back to competing.”
Murray went on to suggest he was content with his performances during the grass court season, as he returned to action sooner than many had expected.
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“Of course I wanted to go further than the second round in the men’s doubles and the third round in the mixed, but considering how tough the past year has been, it was good to just get out there and play,” he added.
“As I reflect on my return to Wimbledon, my overriding emotion is enjoyment. I was practising at Wimbledon about six or seven weeks ago, hitting on the clay courts and not knowing if I’d be playing during the grass-court season or not.
“They were starting to paint the lines on the court, prepare all the backdrops around the grounds and put all the hospitality tents up – it left me thinking how disappointed I would be if I had to miss the tournament again.
“I was excited to be back playing here and, although I felt nerves and I felt pressure, it was not to the same degree as I usually would playing in the singles.
“What I particularly enjoyed was being around the locker room and having that camaraderie with the other players and the support staff. I know a lot of them really well having been on the tour together for years and it was great to be part of that again.”
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