Former world No1 Andy Murray has admitted that he may never be 100 per cent fit again but is confident that he can add to his three grand slam titles when he returns from hip surgery.
Murray underwent an operation in Melbourne on Monday, having reluctantly accepted that rehabilitation alone had failed to cure an injury that has kept him sidelined since Wimbledon last year.
The 30-year-old has conceded that he will have to manage his condition by playing fewer tournaments when he returns to competitive action, with the summer grass-court season his target.
While fewer events will restrict his chances of reclaiming top ranking, the Briton believes he will be sufficiently potent to challenge for the biggest prizes once again.
“I’ll be playing a reduced schedule and then focusing more on trying to win major events and big tournaments rather than trying to achieve certain ranking goals,” he said.
“I made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon when I literally couldn’t walk and was in so much pain. So if I can get myself to 95 per cent of my best, I believe that’s enough to compete at the highest level. No question.
“The rest of my body feels fantastic. I feel really, really good physically apart from this one issue.”
Murray had hoped to play at the Australian Open, which starts on Monday, but withdrew last week, having felt unable to continue preparations by playing at the Brisbane Invitational.
It was the latest abortive comeback in a six-month ordeal that the two-time Wimbledon winner admits has left him bitterly disappointed and fuelled concerns among observers that he may not play again.
“I’m not finished playing tennis yet,” added Murray. “I’m going to be competing at the highest level again. I’m very optimistic about the future. The surgeon is very happy about how it went.”
Kyle Edmund, who is set to be the highest ranked Briton in the men’s draw of the Australian Open, has emerged as a doubt for the tournament after an ankle injury forced him out of this week’s Auckland Open.