'Life-changing' surgery gives Murray cause for optimism
Andy Murray has described an operation on his ailing hip as "life-changing" as he prepares to make his return to competitive tennis.
A three-time Grand Slam winner, Murray has entered the doubles with Feliciano Lopez at Queen's Club in London this week for what will be his first taste of action since going under the knife in January.
"I don't know how I'm going to feel when I get back on the court, but I feel lucky, I feel relaxed, I didn't expect to be in this position," said Murray, who hinted the surgery could force him to retire at the Australian Open earlier this year.
"I didn't know how I was going to feel if I went and had the operation but it's been brilliant, completely life-changing for me from where I was.
"I'm looking forward to getting back out there but I don't know what to expect. I'm not putting any expectations on myself because just being out on a tennis court again, and being comfortable and pain free, is enough.
"I'll enjoy competing. I enjoyed practising, hitting tennis balls, doing all the things I couldn't do even a few months ago, so we'll see what happens."
Murray's brother Jamie has made a career from being a high-level doubles player, winning six Grand Slam titles.
However, the former world number one still believes he has a future in playing singles.
"My goal is still to get back playing singles," added Murray.
"I was chatting with my team about the best way to get back onto the court again singles-wise and we felt doubles would be a good option to test myself out and see how I feel.
"There is less loading on the body, less movement, you still have to make some quick reactions but we felt like it was quite a nice progression from all the rehab I had been doing."
And even if he does not return to hit the heights of old, Murray explained the relief at being able to enjoy hitting balls again without being weighed down by the pain of his hip.
"There were a number of times over the last 18 months when I did want to stop (playing tennis)," he said.
"I was getting no enjoyment out of tennis at all, whether that be training, playing, winning matches. I wasn't really bothered because it wasn't fun.
"Now it is just nice. I like playing tennis, I'm a fan of the sport. I've played it since I was kid. I want to keep playing if I can because I enjoy it.
"I would nice to be winning Wimbledon but hardly anyone gets the opportunity to do that and there are still loads of players who love and enjoy the sport without being able to win the biggest competitions.
"I would hope I would be able to deal with that and just enjoy practising, playing doubles. Although it is different to what I am used to, I'm fine with that."
Murray and Lopez face a tough opener at Queen's against top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
? 2019 AFP