(Reuters) – Andy Murray is looking to improve his speed around the court as he steps up his return to singles action at the Zhuhai Championships in China following career-saving hip surgery.
Former world number one Murray, 32, is regaining his fitness after a hip resurfacing procedure at the start of the year and recorded the first two wins of his singles comeback at the Rafa Nadal Open Challenger tournament in Mallorca last month.
“I’m still kind of going through the recovery process from the operation. My muscles are still recovering, the ones that were cut during the procedure… sometimes I feel a little bit slow on the court,” Murray told reporters on Sunday.
“I’m hoping that with playing more at this level, more time to recover, I’ll start to get a little bit faster.
“The conditions here are difficult, very humid, which is always tough… I have no pain in my hip any more, so that’s a positive thing.”
Murray, who has dropped to 413 in the world rankings, will also compete in Beijing and Shanghai in the Asian swing of the ATP tour but the three-times major winner said his performance in Mallorca showed he still needed time to return to his best.
“I think physically I still have a lot of improving to do if I want to get back to competing on the tour at the highest level because it showed there that I wasn’t quite ready to play many matches in a row,” Murray, who lost in the third round, said.
“The last three weeks since that tournament, I’ve spent time working on my physical conditioning.”
Unseeded Murray will begin his Zhuhai campaign against American Tennys Sandgren, his conqueror in the Winston-Salem Open first round last month.
He also confirmed he would play in next year’s inaugural ATP Cup — a nation-based event ahead of the Australian Open.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)