For the first time since his quarter-final loss to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon, Andy Murray has played in public during his Murray Live charity event Glasgow where he played against Roger Federer to raise funds for various charities.
And it was interesting to note that the Scots movements following the hip-injury which curtailed his season so dramatically, were nearing the levels he will need when he makes his comeback, currently expected to be at Brisbane in preparation for the Australian Open mid-January.
I have been hitting the ball very well in practice – it’s just that there is a difference between that 75-80 per cent practice and going flat out at 100 per cent for two and a half or three hours on the match court. Until I do that I can’t say for certain, but I think I’ll be able to come back just fine Andy Murray
Speaking ahead of the exhibition match at his Andy Murray Live charity event in Glasgow, he was asked whether he could get back to 100 per cent fitness in time for December 31, when the Brisbane International event starts.
“You never know when you’re coming back from any injury, but that’s what I’m working towards, for sure. We have to see, but I believe that will be the case” the 30-year-old Murray replied.
“When I get back on the court next year and start playing again, it might not come immediately at the beginning of the year.
“I have been hitting the ball very well in practice – it’s just that there is a difference between that 75-80 per cent practice and going flat out at 100 per cent for two and a half or three hours on the match court. Until I do that I can’t say for certain, but I think I’ll be able to come back just fine.”
He also revealed that he would be attending his Miami training camp for a few weeks before going to Australia early to acclimatise himself in preparation for the first major of the next season where he hopes to be challenging for top honours while remaining realistic about his prospects.
However, he stresses that if he doesn’t feel 100% fit he will not be playing.
“Things have been going pretty well so far in the rehab, but you just never know,” he added. “I’ve been training for a few weeks now. Some days I’ve felt great and some days not so good.
“But I will come back when I’m ready and when I’m 100 per cent fit. I probably made a bit of a mistake trying to get ready for the US Open but it was the last major of the year and I wanted to give it a go.
“And now it’s time to give my body the rest and recovery it needs. I’ll come back when I’m ready.”
Having chosen not to have surgery he is ensuring that the rest he was recommended as an alternative, is given the time it requires to heal his troublesome hip.
The 36-year-old Federer supported his decision and pointed to the success he has enjoyed by ending his season last year midway through the year. As history now records, he won two majors, the Aussie Open and Wimbledon, plus three Masters events.
He told Murray: “Take your time, however long it takes. When you come back you want to be at 100 per cent, otherwise the problem is you feel you just can’t beat the best at the big tournaments, so it’s wise and worthwhile to take the extra week, extra month maybe.
“I’m sure Andy is going to have a lot of years left, so he shouldn’t hurry, but as a professional athlete you always want to come back as quick as possible.
“You need to have goals but sometimes they need to be postponed.”
Federer went on to defeat Murray in the exhibition match 6-3 3-6 10-6 with Murray declaring that he felt better than expected, despite still limping between some points. His serve was rusty but he defended well and showed a lot of mobility and speed about the court.
With Murray donning a Tan o’ Shanter and ginger wig and Federer putting on a kilt halfway through the match, the seriousness of Murray’s return was diluted in order to give the capacity 11000 crowd the entertainment they had come to see at the SSE Hydro Arena.
“I think I did OK,” Murray told Eurosport’s Annabel Croft during the post-match interview. “I’m just so happy to be back on the court. I’ve really missed it. There are things I would like to do better but for the first match in I four or five months I really enjoyed it. My hip felt pretty good, not perfect yet but its going in the right direction. I’ve got eight weeks until my first tournament of next year and hopefully I will be there.”
Murray also teamed up with his brother Jamie to take on Tim Henman and Mansour Bahrami in a doubles match which the brothers lost.