Sport

Back-in-action Murray ready to go it alone in Cincinnati

Back-in-action Murray ready to go it alone in Cincinnati”

His fitness and focus have clearly moved on apace since he underwent major hip surgery at the start of the year.

"Obviously, when you're playing at the highest level against the best players, they hit the ball big and it takes time to get used to that again".

Murray returned to doubles play in June, winning the Queen's Club title with partner Feliciano Lopez, who he also partnered to the last 16 in Montreal last week and will team up with again in Cincinnati. Murray played doubles in several tournaments, including Wimbledon with Serena Williams and at Washington with brother Jamie, before deciding to try singles at Cincinnati, where he is a two-time champion.

The singles match was Murray's first since a painful exit from the Australian Open that had him thinking his career might be over.

On January 11th of this year, an emotional Murray announced at a pre-Australian Open press conference that he would retire from professional tennis due to struggling physically for a "long time", particularly with his hip injury.

"My best now might not be what it was when I was 25 in terms of what that looks like on a tennis court. Who knows, maybe it will be in a few months".

"My mentality changed a lot because I wasn't in pain anymore. That strength is not going to come back in just three or four months it could take nine or 12 months".

He has, for example, won the Shanghai Masters four times-though he has yet to commit to playing there this October-and he has also won in Shenzhen and Beijing.

If Murray's comeback to the singles circuit does not go according to plan, the 32-year-old said he would be willing to drop down to ATP Challenger events. "It's close to Macau and Hong Kong, with an impressive stadium and I can't wait to experience it".

In a second post shortly after, Murray added: "I'm also going to play Beijing the week after Zhuhai".

"The quickest way to get back up to speed is to practice with the top players, I think that means I can get back quicker".

Murray has not ruled out making his return to a grand slam singles draw at the US Open, which begins on 26 August, but the 2012 victor in NY and may be wary of competing in best-of-five-set matches so soon after coming back.

The 32-year-old, who has undergone two major hip procedures, will face off against Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the opening round with the victor to face fourth seed Dominic Thiem.

Marin Cilic became the first seeded player to lose when 39th-ranked Radu Albot beat the 14th seed 6-4, 7-6 (6) in Monday's opening round.



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