Roger Federer believes Andy Murray should follow his lead by ensuring he does not rush back to competitive action too quickly following the Scot’s injury-ruined season.
The Swiss 19-time grand slam champion had encouraging words for his friend and rival while helping Murray start his comeback gently by playing him in a charity match in Glasgow on Tuesday.
Former world number one Murray, who has been sidelined with a hip injury since Wimbledon, is targeting a return in the New Year with a view to competing at the Australian Open.
Federer, who was in a similar position last year when he missed the second half of the season through injury, took time out to completely recover and was rewarded with a spectacular return in 2017 featuring two grand slam triumphs.
Before beating Murray in the knockabout exhibition match, Federer told the three-time grand slam winner: “My best advice is just to get fit again. Take your time, however long it
“When you come back you want to be at 100 percent, otherwise the problem is you feel you just can’t beat the best at the big tournaments, so it’s wise and worthwhile to take the extra week, extra month maybe.
“I’m sure Andy has a lot of years left so there shouldn’t be a hurry but as a professional athlete, you always want to come back as quickly as possible and you need to have goals but sometimes they need to be postponed.”
It is extraordinary how the pair’s fortunes have changed in 12 months, but the experience of 36-year-old Federer can act as an inspiration to a player six years his junior.
This time last year, Murray had just achieved his ambition of becoming world number one while questions were being asked about Federer’s future after his injury-decimated campaign.
Yet the Swiss returned to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon, shoot back up to number two in the world and play some of the best tennis of his garlanded career while injury-hit Murray’s form and confidence dipped. From number one, Murray has plummeted to 16th in the rankings, his lowest position for nine years but Federer is confident his rival will climb back to the top again.
Murray also indicated he would be prepared to miss next year’s Australian Open if it meant endangering his return to full fitness from a hip injury. The British tennis star has not played a competitive match since struggling through to the quarter-finals of this year’s Wimbledon, where he was beaten by Sam Querrey of the United States.
Murray, however, is contemplating a return at the Brisbane International, which starts on December 31 and is a warm-up event for the Australian Open -the first of the sport’s four annual major championships.
But speaking ahead of an exhibition match with Roger Federer in Glasgow, the 30-year-old Scot was cautious about his prospects of regaining 100 percent fitness.
“You never know when you’re coming back from any injury, but that’s what I’m working towards, for sure,” said Murray. “We have to see, but I believe that will be the case.
“When I get back on the court next year and start playing again, it might not come immediately at the beginning of the year,” the two-time Wimbledon champion added. “I have been hitting the ball very well in practice – it’s just that there is a difference between that 75-80 percent practice and going flat out at 100 percent for two-and-a-half or three hours on the match court.
“Until I do that I can’t say for certain, but I think I’ll be able to come back just fine.”
Murray expects to travel to Australia after opting for a course of rest and rehabilitation rather than surgery.
“Things have been going pretty well so far in the rehab, but you just never know,” he said. “I’ve been training for a few weeks now. Some days I’ve felt great and some days not so good.
“But I will come back when I’m ready and when I’m 100 percent fit. I probably made a bit of a mistake trying to get ready for the US Open but it was the last major of the year and I wanted to give it a go. “And now it’s time to give my body the rest and recovery it needs. I’ll come back when I’m ready.”
Wawrinka returns to training after knee injury
World number seven Stan Wawrinka has returned to training ahead of his scheduled comeback at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) exhibition event in December.
Three-times grand slam winner Wawrinka, 32, last played at Wimbledon in July before withdrawing from the US Open and announcing the end of his season in August to undergo surgery following a recurring knee problem. “First practice since July! Sooooo happy and excited!! Already killing the cones with the backhand!” Wawrinka said on his Twitter account along with a video of him back on the court.
Serbian Novak Djokovic and world number one Rafa Nadal are also scheduled to play at the Abu Dhabi event, which starts on December 28.
Britain’s Tim Henman (L), Iran’s Mansour Bahrami (2nd L), Switzerland’s Roger Federer (C), Britain’s Andy Murray (2nd R) and Britain’s Jamie Murray (R) pose on court ahead of their exhibition tennis event, u201cAndy Murray Liveu201d at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. (AFP)