Andy Murray is 'feeling good' for return to competition

 

doha

Put Andy Murray into a competitive situation and you can guarantee that he will fight to the finish. Playing a first-round doubles match here at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on the opening day of the new season, Murray and Nenad Zimonjic went a set and a break down to Germany's Daniel Brands and Florian Mayer before the world No 4 launched a spirited recovery with his bold returns and volleys. The Scot and the Serb won 3-6, 7-6, 10-8, to the delight of a packed crowd on the second show court.

Tomorrow afternoon Murray will switch to centre court when he launches his singles campaign against the Qatari wild card Mousa Zayed. It will be the Wimbledon champion's first competitive singles match since he underwent back surgery at the end of September.

Murray is taking nothing for granted, but it is clear that he has derived encouragement from the first three months of his rehabilitation programme.

"So far the results have been good," a relaxed Murray said as he sat back in a chair in the VIP area at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

"I haven't lost any strength. I was training two weeks after the surgery. I was on the bike. It was quite a slow process, but everything has gone well. I don't feel like I've lost speed or strength. But I'll have a better idea when I start playing matches against the best players in the world. It's fine doing all this stuff in the gym and in practice, but until I start doing it in the matches that's where I'll get the confidence from."

Murray played two matches at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week and will be hoping for a good run here before heading to the Australian Open, which begins in 13 days' time.

"I pulled up well after the matches [last week] and that's what you're assessing just now," he said. "I practised with David Ferrer yesterday for a good hour and a half. We played a lot of games and sets and I woke up this morning feeling good.

"Obviously, I need to play matches. It's fine to feel good after one or two matches, but it's a long season. It's important my back holds up to the consistent pounding that your body takes playing matches week in and week out, but it's been good so far."

Murray said he had felt positively about his recovery ever since deciding to have the operation this summer. He had been suffering with back trouble for more than 18 months.

"When it's something that you've been dealing with for a very long time and you're the one that makes the decision to have the surgery and get it fixed, it's a lot easier to deal with," he said.

"I made that decision. I didn't want to deal with it any more. It had been causing me pain for a long time. So I was fine. I was really looking forward to having it done. I just wanted to have it done and start the process of getting back on the court."

He added: "There were a lot of things that were a problem with my back, but what exactly the one thing that it was I may not necessarily know. I'm just hoping that the procedure that I had done works. I was getting a lot of pain in my lower back, down my leg and into my foot. They were the symptoms, but they could have been caused by quite a few different things."

Murray will be pleased to be first on court at 2.30pm this afternoon – not so much because it gives him the chance to celebrate Hogmanay, but because he will avoid the chill of the evenings here at this time of the year.

"On the first day we got here it was very cold and that is not really what I want for my back just now, but I'm going to have to get used to it at some stage," he said. "All the training I did in Miami was in extreme heat and humidity, but I need to adjust to Melbourne very quickly from here."

Having won the title in Brisbane in the first week of the last two seasons, Murray said he had chosen to play in Abu Dhabi and Doha this time because he had struggled 12 months ago with the sudden change to the hot conditions in Australia. He had been keen to play in Abu Dhabi, where he was guaranteed two matches, and did not want to make a 14-hour trip to Brisbane and then have to play a match within a day or two of arriving.

Murray is one of two Britons in the main draw here after Dan Evans won his third qualifying match in succession. The 23-year-old from Birmingham, who became British No 2 in September, beat Japan's Taro Daniel 6-2, 6-2 and now meets Latvia's Ernests Gulbis, the world No 24.

Watson's brisbane exit

The British No 3 Heather Watson suffered a straight-sets defeat to ninth seed Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the Brisbane International.

The 21-year-old, who has fallen to 121 in the world after suffering from glandular fever, had battled through qualifying to reach the main draw at the hard-court event, but was no match for the world No 23 from Slovakia who prevailed 6-4, 6-3.

Cibulkova will play Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second round.

Suggested Topics
News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
Arts and Entertainment
James Dean on the set of 'Rebel without a Cause', 1955
photographyHe brought documentary photojournalism to Tinseltown, and in doing so, changed the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
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.

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing