Andy Murray says naive to think he will return to the top

ZHUHAI (China): Andy Murray He said Sunday that it would be naive and foolish to think that he will ever be the player who reached the world number one.

The 32-year-old Briton three times Grand slam champion, is on a long way back after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery to save his career in January.

Now he is pain free, and this week he will compete in the Zhuhai Championships - the first of the three tournaments that are scheduled to play in China in the next three weeks.

Murray believes that this crucial period in his rehabilitation will provide some answers on how good he can be again, but he has no illusions about the long term.

Honestly, I don't expect to do my best again, Murray, now at 413 in the world, told AFP in Zhuhai.

I think it would probably be a bit naive and silly to think that would be the case.

I feel that, as for tennis, I can still compete at the highest level in terms of my ability, it is only if I can physically reach a level high enough to be competitive right at the top.

I still have a long way to go in that direction, I don't know exactly where the end point is.

Probably until I stop improving, I will have to make a call (about his future).

If my improvement stopped today, I probably wouldn't be happy playing at the level I am now.

Murray, who climbed to the top of the world ranking in 2016, plays Tennys Sandgren , ranked 69, at the inaugural event in Zhuhai, southern China this week.

Last month, in just his second singles match since his operation, Murray lost little to the American.

The Briton competed in a lower level Challenger event in Spain, while trying to rebuild his crunchy body for the rigors of the elite. tennis .

Although Murray lost in the last 16 in Mallorca against the unannounced Matteo Viola, he was glad to have gone through three games in four days without complications.

Murray says that he is enjoying the comeback journey, but having several months away from tennis changed his perspective and he is now "looking forward" to retirement.

"Tennis has always been a huge part of my life, but I realised probably then that actually my health was the most important thing for a happy life and I had always probably been worried about what life might look like after tennis ," he said.

I had a look these last months and it was brilliant.

I just didn't feel pain, I just did many different things, dated friends and family, and it was great.

So I wait when I stop playing eventually.

"But while I am not in pain just now, I will try to keep playing tennis because I enjoy it."

After Zhuhai, the China Open in Beijing and the Shanghai Masters, Murray will return to Europe to compete in the European Open in Antwerp, so it will be a test next month.

Winning a couple of matches in each tournament would be a success, he said, by increasing his speed and endurance priorities on the tortuous road to recovery.

If that sounds like low expectations, Murray, twice Wimbledon champion and Olympic gold medalist, is happy to feel no pain.

For the last two, three years, two years for sure, he didn't enjoy playing, he didn't enjoy training, he said.

I wasn't enjoying any of it because it was painful and uncomfortable.