Andy Murray admitted his goals have changed for the 2018 season as he prioritises returning to full health over consistent success throughout the year.
The former world No. 1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his Wimbledon quarter-final exit at the hands of American Sam Querrey, where he was plagued by a hip problem.
Murray returned to court on a public stage when facing Roger Federer in Glasgow but has since struggled with his recovery and remains a big doubt for the Brisbane International and possibly even the Australian Open.
Should he fail to compete in Brisbane, it’s likely the three-time Grand Slam champion would drop outside the top-16 in the rankings and could meet Novak Djokovic as early as the third round at the first Slam of the year.
But the Scot is unconcerned by his progress on the ATP leaderboard this season and hopes that he can return to full fitness and play his best tennis at the biggest events.
‘When I was fit and healthy last year you think about winning all the major events, getting to No 1 and winning every competition that you are in and that is what really drives you,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘When you miss four or five months and there has been a bit of uncertainty about my hip or stuff [that changes]. I missed the US Open and almost missed Wimbledon as well.
‘The goals change and I remember now how much I just loved playing tennis – it isn’t about winning every match that I play in the future or winning more Slams.
‘I want to get back to playing tennis, I want to be fit and healthy and that is what is driving me just now.
‘I am hoping next year I can get back to that and if I do [get back to being fit and healthy[ then I have an opportunity to compete for the biggest tournaments in the world and I still believe that.
‘The major competitions are the ones that drive me more than the ranking. I want to compete – it was tough for me basically limping out of Wimbledon at the end.
‘I want to be competing hard and trying to win the Australian Open in January and the (other) Grand Slams. That is ultimately what I want to be doing but first and foremost I need to get healthy.
‘I was pretty unhealthy for most of this year and I am getting there but it is a slow process.’
While his match fitness is a concern, Murray was hitting on court in Abu Dhabi on Thursdy as he looks to step up his recovery.
Despite his knock at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, he won’t play a match there and is still touch and go to make it to Brisbane, where Rafael Nadal also pulled out.
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