Former world number one Andy Murray said Sunday he was desperate to get back into competitive tennis after a five-month absence due to a debilitating hip injury.
Murray, who is in Queensland for the season-opening Brisbane International, has not played on the ATP tour since losing a tough five-setter to American Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.
He said despite some lingering problems with his hip, his body was feeling much better than at the same stage last year.
“I don’t feel like there’s many miles in my legs, which, you know, was certainly the case at the beginning of 2017, where most days I was quite sore kind of all over,” he said.
“Right now the hip is the only thing that is any concern. The rest of my body feels really good.”
Murray admitted he wasn’t heading into this tournament or the Australian Open with great expectations.
“Just because I’ve not played for such a long time,” he said.
“And also I just want to enjoy playing again. I’ve really missed it the last six months or so.
“I don’t mind if it’s 30 in the world level. I would love it to be number one in the world level, but I just want to play.”
Murray spent 41 weeks at number one, losing that ranking in August during his injury-enforced absence.
He is now ranked 16th in the world and said he had adjusted his schedule to play less in 2018 in a bid to avoid further injury.
With Rafael Nadal (knee) and Novak Djokovic (elbow) in doubt for the Australian Open, the 30-year-old Scot said other players should follow his example.
“Certainly, when you miss a period, you realise how lucky you are to be doing this as a job,” he said.
“Giving yourself breaks, especially as you start to get older, I think, is very important and something that I’ll certainly be looking to do for however long I keep playing.
“For tennis as a sport, it’s not good when so many of the top players are injured and for extended periods,” he added.
“I certainly think it’s something that should be looked at and to understand why, what the reason for that is.”