Andy Murray admits return from back surgery was tough, but with season ramping up, he's 'feeling good'
Murray was given a first-round bye at the BNP Paribas Open and feels he is getting back to his best following his return from back surgery
Nearly six months after undergoing surgery in an attempt to cure his long-standing back problem, Andy Murray is at last feeling comfortable with his physical condition. The 26-year-old Scot returns to Masters Series competition in California this weekend for the first time since August and knows he needs to be in the best possible shape for the busiest part of the year over the next four months.
Murray, who meets the Czech Republic's Lukas Rosol in his opening match at Indian Wells, has made a modest start to the year. Since losing to Roger Federer in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open he has led Britain to victory over the United States in the Davis Cup, reached the quarter-finals of an indoor tournament at Rotterdam, where he lost to Marin Cilic, and made the semi-finals on outdoor hard courts last week at Acapulco, where he lost in three gruelling sets to Grigor Dimitrov.
"The first few tournaments back were hard but my body actually feels good now," Murray said. "Last week I played four matches in four days for the first time. I played three three-set matches - some long ones which finished late in the evening - and I woke up the next day feeling good for the first time really since the surgery. I'm starting to recover properly and I feel good now."
He added: "It takes time. The last couple of weeks I've really started to feel normal. I'm not saying it's ahead of schedule but I'd say it's pretty much on schedule. I wasn't expecting to feel perfect in January but as an athlete it can be frustrating when you're trying to come back to play your best and you're just not quite there no matter how much training and physical work you do.
"I'm starting to move well again and feel comfortable in my movement. When people describe someone as a great mover, there's a lot of guys that move extremely well but once you get there you need to be able to do something with the ball. I felt like in Acapulco I was starting to get to balls and actually was doing stuff with them, getting myself out of difficult situations in points."
Murray's coach, Ivan Lendl, who will link up with the Scot again in Miami later this month, said that returning from a lengthy absence can be a major challenge. "First you have to be pain-free and you have to convince yourself that you can do things which you were not able to do before," Lendl said.
"You have to get your game back and your confidence back. Sometimes people come back and they either get lucky or they are just that good that they win on the first tournament back. Sometimes it takes a while. You never know which one it's going to be."
With Murray and Federer currently at No 6 and No 8 in the world rankings respectively, the draw at Indian Wells could be a sign of things to come this summer. Murray is in the same half as Rafael Nadal, Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, the Australian Open champion. Novak Djokovic appears to have an easier passage in the bottom half of the draw, which also includes Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro.
Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger 'optimistic' of making signing, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Edinson Cavani linked
John Stones to Chelsea: Next season's bumper TV deal means clubs such as Everton can say 'no'
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2 player ratings: Who was to blame for Chelsea's defeat? Did Pedro impress on his home debut? Sako and Ward star
Kevin De Bruyne: Why do Manchester City put such a high value on a player Chelsea rejected?
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'