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.

Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower