ANDY MURRAY HAS targeted a return to competitive tennis in time for the grasscourt season midway through the year after undergoing surgery in a bid to rectify a long-standing hip problem.
The 30-year-old has today confirmed he went under the knife in Australia having not played a competitive game since his quarter-final exit to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon in July.
Murray had to pull out of this month’s Australian Open due to hip pain having travelled from the UK in the hope he would be fit enough to play.
“Today I underwent successful right hip surgery at the St Vincent Hospital in Melbourne,” the former world number one said on his Facebook page.
“I’d like to thank Dr John O’Donnell and all of the staff for looking after me. I look forward to returning to competitive tennis during the grasscourt season. Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes and support over the last few days. I’ll come back from this.”
In an emotional post on social media last week, Murray stressed he wanted to avoid undergoing surgery but it was seen as the only option after six months of painstaking rehabilitation work hadn’t repaired the damage.
The three-time Grand Slam champion, who has fallen to 19th in the world rankings during his time out of the game, says he hopes to be hitting balls on court again after seven or eight weeks, and has said 14 weeks is the standard return time from that surgery.
But Murray is confident he can still challenge for titles post-surgery and hopes to make his comeback on his favourite surface, with Wimbledon starting on 2 July.
“I’m not finished playing tennis yet. I’m going to be competing at the highest level again,” he said.
“I’m very optimistic about the future — the surgeon is very happy about how it went.
“My plan is to be back playing around the grass-court season – potentially before then – but I’m certainly not going to rush anything.
“I want to know when I come back that I’m ready.”
Murray added: ”I’ve been fairly competitive with top-50 players in the world in Brisbane when I’m struggling to move, and I made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon when I literally couldn’t walk and was in so much pain.
“So if I can get myself to 95% of my best, I believe that’s enough to compete at the highest level. No question.
“The rest of my body feels fantastic. I feel really, really good physically apart from this one issue. The surgery allows me to extend my hip well, and I’ll be able to sprint.”
A host of top names are battling to be fit for the first Grand Slam of the year, which starts in Melbourne on 15 January.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori has already pulled out and world number one Rafael Nadal and six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic remain huge doubts having yet to play a competitive match this year.
Former champion Stan Wawrinka and Canada’s Milos Raonic are also returning from injuries but intend to play in Melbourne.
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