Murray re-sets ambitions after injury lay-off
Former world number one Andy Murray would be happy playing "30 in the world level" after admitting he missed the sport during his injury-enforced lay-off.
Murray has not played on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon due to a hip problem but is poised to return in Brisbane this week as he attempts to prove his fitness ahead of the season's opening grand slam event in Melbourne, which starts on January 15.
The Scot will start 2018 at 16 in the world rankings - he was number one at the corresponding time in 2017 - but is adamant that is a secondary concern at the minute.
He told reporters: "I just want to enjoy playing again, I really missed it.
"I want to play tennis. I don’t mind if it’s 30 in the world level - I’d love it to be number one in the world level - I just want to play.
"When that’s taken away from you, you realise how important it is."
“I want to enjoy playing again. I've really missed it. I don't mind if it's 30 in the world level. I would love it to be No. 1, but I just want to play”— #BrisbaneTennis (@BrisbaneTennis) December 31, 2017
- @andy_murray #BrisbaneTENnis pic.twitter.com/3V2oNVEyap
Murray is not the only leading male player building up to the Australian Open with injury concerns - Rafael Nadal pulled out of Brisbane with a knee problem while Novak Djokovic withdrew from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship due to concerns over his recently-operated-on right elbow.
"I’m aware of the situation at the end of last year , especially because for tennis and the sport it’s not good," Murray added.
"Something should be looked at to understand why, what the reason for that is. I’m hoping that that doesn’t continue happening."
Murray looked rusty in losing a one-set exhibition match to Roberto Bautista Agut in Abu Dhabi on Friday but, barring any last-minute complications, intends to sharpen his game in Queensland before heading to Melbourne Park.
"Unless something happens [in] the next couple of days, I don't see myself not playing because of my hip," he said.
"I need to play matches to see exactly where it’s at. Right now the hip is the only part of the body that is any concern."