\Andy Murray at Cincinnati practice

‘I can be back to my best for the Australian Open,’ says Andy Murray

Andy Murray has his sights set on making an impact at the 2020 Australian Open, as he laid out his plans to return to the player he once was.

Melbourne was the backdrop for his lowest moment, when Murray tearfully admitted he was looking at retirement at the start of this year.

However, after undergoing surgery shortly afterwards, the Australian Open may instead be the scene of his rebirth as a singles competitor should his plans come to fruition.

“I think nine to 12 months after the operation is when I would expect to be getting close to the best that I can be physically – and speed wise I should be fully recovered by 12 months,” Murray told reporters after his 6-4 6-4 defeat to Richard Gasquet at the Cincinnati Masters.

It was Murray’s first forray into singles competition since his return to tennis, and he was noticeably playing within himself.

He was caught out by several drop-shots by wily Frenchman Gasquet, but Murray insists that is something that can be fixed – with enough patience.

“Speeds have improved, but they are quite linear speeds, and repeatable tests, whereas on a match court you are changing direction and having to react to balls and anticipate.

“The way to get that back is by playing matches. You can hit as many speed targets as you like, but once you get out on court it’s very different.

“I don’t feel I was very slow out on the court (against Gasquet), but I was not as quick as I would have liked.”

Murray will not take up the offer of a wildcard for the US Open, but it appears to be a case of full-steam ahead as far as the comeback goes.

“I’m certainly not going to go backwards from here,” he added. “Every time I’ve practised singles so far, it’s all just been practice sets because I was trying to get back on the match court.

“But once you actually get out there and start playing you realise, ‘Wow,’ my return needs to get better, I need to improve my serve.

“I need to get myself on the practice court and work on those things specifically.

“It will be exciting and interesting to see how I get on.

“It’s not something that’s been tried or done before in tennis. Hopefully if it goes well it will be an option for more athletes down the line.”

Look ahead to the rest of 2019 with our guides to every tournament on the ATP Tour and the WTA Tour. If you can’t visit the tournaments you love then do the next best thing and read our guide on how to watch all the ATP Tour matches on television in 2019. To read more amazing articles like this you can explore Tennishead magazine here or you can subscribe for free to our email newsletter here

Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.