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December 31, 2017

Andy Murray

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How is your jet lag?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I actually feel all right. Not too bad. Yeah, I'm all right.

Q. Did it help breaking the journey having that time in Abu Dhabi?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think so. I think it did, yeah. Yeah, I think when you do that trip, like, in one go, it's tough. But, actually, I slept really well in the one night we were in Abu Dhabi and then pretty much the whole way on the flight. So I feel fresh.

Q. How are you feeling? You were on the practice court. How are you feeling on the court overall?
ANDY MURRAY: I felt okay today, actually, a bit better than I did in the match in Abu Dhabi. I'm hoping that's kind of going to keep getting better with each day I practice with better players.

You know, that's what I need just now. You know, I've not really done that much over the last few months. So get, hopefully, a few more days good practice in before I play.

Q. Do you feel pressure, do you feel rusty, or both?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, both probably. Yeah, I feel fresh certainly mentally. You know, I don't feel like there's many miles in my legs, which, you know, was certainly the case at the beginning of this -- well, this year, the beginning of 2017, where most days I was quite sore kind of all over.

You know, right now just, you know, the hip is the only thing that is any concern. The rest of my body feels really good.

Q. Do you have any specific goals in mind or just something you're going to have to let evolve as it goes along.
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, my expectations aren't massively high just now just because I've not played for such a long time. And also, you know, just I want to enjoy playing again. I've really missed it the last six months or so.

And also that kind of -- I don't know. You kind of reevaluate, like, kind of what is important to you. I just want to be able to play tennis. I don't mind if it's 30 in the world level. I would love it to be No. 1 in the world level, but I just -- yeah, I just want to play. You know, and when that's kind of taken away from you, you know, you kind of realize how important it is.

And, yeah, I'm just hoping that I can get back to a level where I'm able to be really competitive. I'll probably make some changes to my schedule this year. I'll certainly play less than I have in the past to give my body time to rest and recover, which maybe I haven't done, you know.

I wouldn't say I necessarily played loads of tournaments or overplayed, but just the way the schedule is there's not lots of breaks in the year. So I'll probably change my schedule a bit this year.

But, yeah, just want to be healthy and back on the court competing.

Q. Were you surprised how much you missed the game?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, a little bit. Yeah. I mean, I think when you're competing all of the time -- I remember when I had my back issues, like, you know, I was really motivated to get back, but I had -- the back surgery was in September, and I kind of only missed, like, two-and-a-half months of competition.

But, like, from Wimbledon right the way through to the end of the year, that was the longest period I've ever had off as a professional. And, yeah, it's tough.

Q. You mentioned your hip was a major concern. Can you give us an update how that is going?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, like I said, I feel like I'm getting better, but it's just you need to play matches and you need to play against the best players to gain confidence in how your body and your hip is feeling and how you respond to matches.

My hip feels way better than it did at Wimbledon and way better than it did at the US Open, for example, like significantly better than that, you know, which is good.

And, you know, at the US Open -- sorry -- at Wimbledon, I almost, you know, made the semifinals and I was really struggling badly and, you know, it shows I've not played since then. So if it's better than then, that's positive.

But playing the matches and sort of getting used to that intensity again and how you recover from a match is kind of what is important. And I'm hoping I'm going to be okay, but you never know for sure until you go through it.

Q. Are you confident you'll be able to play here?
ANDY MURRAY: To play here, yeah. Look, unless something happens the next couple of days that goes wrong, I don't see myself not playing because of my hip right now.

And what I feel is that I need to play matches to see exactly, you know, where it's at. Kind of practicing and stuff and doing everything in the gym is great but playing matches is, you know, what I need.

Q. You said you would be happy if you were playing at a top 30 level. Where do you feel your level is right now? What do you feel on the court?
ANDY MURRAY: Well, you know, I'm not -- like, I want to get back to playing, like, my best tennis and winning the biggest tournaments, but if I don't, like, I'm okay with that. I just want to keep playing.

On a day-to-day basis, it's kind of difficult to tell exactly what my level is, like, when you've had such high expectations for quite a long time. When I have a few bad days, I might feel like I'm playing really poorly, but I might still be good enough to beat top 30, top 40 in the world, which is still a really, really high level.

So it's difficult to tell, but I'll see when I get back on the match court.

Q. You mentioned you looked at your schedule next year. Do you expect other players or more players to start taking breaks during the season just to maintain their bodies given the injuries that are happening?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, and I would recommend it. Yeah, absolutely. Because, you know, at the end of the day, health is the most important thing.

I think I would say most of the players on the tour probably love playing tennis and enjoy it. Certainly, when you miss a period, you realize, like, how lucky you are to be doing this as a job.

So I would want to play as long as I could, you know, physically do it, and I think most of the players would feel the same way.

And, yeah, giving yourself, you know, breaks, especially as you start to get older, I think, is very important and something that I'll certainly be looking to do for however long I keep playing.

Q. When you look at where you're at now and you compare it with how you were after the US Open and when you sought some medical advice, would you say you're happy with where you're at in terms of the advice you were given about how your recovery would be?
ANDY MURRAY: Yeah. Look, the thing that's difficult with, like, a long rehab and when you know, when you've been struggling for a while and you're in a lot of pain is that it doesn't just sort of -- it's not just like a progression that just kind of, you know, you just get better and better and better.

There's days when, you know, you start moving again after taking a period off where you feel like you've taken a huge step backwards and, you know, maybe your hip hurts and, you know, you feel slow.

And, like, even in the exhibition with Roger, I had hardly played at all up until that point. You know, and it's like after that match I was sore afterwards, and I think, Oh, God, like, that was -- you know, that was just an exhibition match, and, you know, it was not pushing, like, unbelievably hard.

So it's tricky. But I don't know. I think I've worked -- I have worked really hard. I've spent lots of time rehabbing. I've done everything that's been asked of me from my physio and my physical trainer, you know, to give myself the best chance possible for the new, year.

And I'm kind of repeating it, but I need to get on the match court now to see -- like, you can't just be rehabbing for, like, ten months unless you've had surgery and you've been told it's that long. You know, if you're not going to have surgery, there comes a point where you need to get back to competing again and see how you actually are doing.

Q. There's a lot of question marks around a lot of guys right now. How much attention do you pay to keeping up with their prospects or wondering how they're doing or is it just sort of you and your own personal space?
ANDY MURRAY: No. I'm certainly aware of the situation, like, at the end of last year especially. Because for tennis as a sport, it's not good when so many of the top players are injured and for the extended periods. I don't think that's a good thing.

And I certainly think it's something that should be looked at and to understand why, what the reason for that is. And hoping that it's not -- you know, hoping that that doesn't continue happening because -- although, last year it seemed like more -- certainly more than usual. I haven't seen that before. The year before, Rafa and Roger, who are obviously two of the best players to play, they missed significant periods as well.

So there's been a lot of quite long-term injuries at the top of the game and, you know, you need to try to understand why that's happened.

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