Not much has gone right for Andy Murray in the last 16 months but the 31-year-old Scot’s determination to rebuild his career is evident in his plans for 2019.
Having spent several weeks in the United States working on his continuing rehabilitation following hip surgery at the start of this year, Murray revealed on Thursday that he will do his main pre-season training in Miami next month before heading to Brisbane, where he will begin the 2019 season.
Murray played only 12 matches this year after starting his comeback in June, 11 months after his last competitive appearance at Wimbledon in July 2017. He cut his 2018 season short after playing in China in September and has subsequently spent time in Philadelphia, where he has been reported to be working with Bill Knowles, a reconditioning coach who has helped with the comebacks of a number of athletes from different sports.
“I’m feeling physically a little bit better every day,” Murray said in a video released to promote his participation in January’s Brisbane International. “It’s obviously been a tough year with the hip injury and the surgery, but I’m getting closer. I’ve been practising already for a few days and I’ve still got a couple of months to get myself in the best shape.”
He added: “I’ll be doing my off-season training in Miami. I’ve spent four or five weeks over in Philadelphia doing a lot of off-court training. Then in December I’m going to get to Miami and do three or four weeks of training in the hot conditions there and spending a lot more time in the hot conditions there to get myself ready.”
Murray has traditionally done his pre-season work in Miami, where the conditions are good preparation for the first month of the new year in Australia. The weather can be particularly gruelling in Brisbane, where the humidity can be an even bigger challenge than the heat.
The former world No 1 attempted to begin his 2018 season at the Brisbane International, but after flying to Queensland he made a late withdrawal from the tournament and then flew to Melbourne, where he had surgery.
Murray will be hoping to make a happier return next month to Brisbane, where he has performed well in the past. He began his 2012 and 2013 seasons at the tournament and won the title on both occasions.
“I’m planning on getting to Brisbane pretty early this year,” he said of his plans for next month. “I’ll probably arrive a week before the start of the tournament.”
Although Murray has never won the Australian Open, he nearly always performs well Down Under. He has reached the final in Melbourne five times, losing to Novak Djokovic in four of them and to Roger Federer on the other occasion.
“I always enjoy going back to Australia,” Murray said. “They obviously get great support at all of the events. The crowds are excellent from the beginning of the tournament.
“I’ve enjoyed playing [at Brisbane] in the past. I’ve played some good tennis and had some successful weeks there. It’s always been great preparation for the Aussie Open, so I’m looking forward to playing there again and hopefully I can perform well for all the fans.”
Murray is not holding back on his plans for the new year. Earlier this week he announced his entry into an indoor tournament in February in Montpellier, where he has not played before. "Lots of great memories playing indoors in France, looking forward to playing Open Sud de France in Montpellier for the first time next year," he wrote on Facebook.
The tournament director at Marseille later in February has also talked about Murray playing there, though his entry has not been formally announced. The Scot last played in Marseille in 2008, when he beat Mario Ancic in the final.
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