10:00 14 Aug 2019
Tennis star Andy Murray says he expects to return to full fitness by January 2020 – a full year after having hip surgery to save his career.
The 32-year-old returned to singles tennis earlier this week, losing in straight sets to Richard Gasquet in the first round of the Cincinnati Masters.
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Murray says he will opt against playing in the US Open – the last major of 2019 – on order to focus on getting fit for a return to five-set tennis from early next year.
“I think nine to 12 months after the operation is when I would expect to be getting close to the best that I can be physically. And speed-wise, I should be fully recovered by 12 months,” Murray told BBC Sport.
That would give him a realistic chance of competing at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, which begins on January 20 in Melbourne.
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“Speeds have improved, but they are quite linear speeds, and repeatable tests, whereas on a match court, you are changing direction and having to react to balls and anticipate,” Murray added.
“The way to get that back is by playing matches. You can hit as many speed targets as you like, but once you get out on court, it’s very different.”
Murray has played doubles and mixed doubles – notably partnering Serena Williams at Wimbledon – but will need to improve his endurance before he is a contender in singles again.