After a stellar 2016 season that had propelled him to the very top of the men's tennis for the first time, Andy Murray started to struggle in 2017 and eventually he had to skip the second part of the year due to a hip injury that required a surgery this January.
After being sidelined for 11 months, Andy made a return in June and he won seven matches in six tournaments, reaching the quarter-final in Washington but playing far beyond his 2016 level and requiring more time to get back in the best possible shape after such a long break.
"I'm over here in China, competing at Shenzhen this week and in Beijing in the week that follows before I call it the end of my competitive year.This was Andy's message before Shenzhen, entering this ATP 250 event with a wild card and hoping to win the title four years after becoming an inaugural champion there in 2014.
I'm going to miss the last couple of tournaments of the season because I decided along with my team that I need a long period of training and reconditioning to get myself in the best possible shape for the beginning of 2019.
I want to compete for the biggest tournaments again but unfortunately I won't be competing after Asia in the rest of 2018. I'm looking forward to getting some hard training done and make some improvements, with the last few months being really positive, I feel like I made big strides forward after the rehab from the hip surgery.
I feel like with another strong training period I will make some big improvements and hopefully the next couple of weeks will go well in China and I'm looking forward to it."
He scored two wins, including the one over the defending champion David Goffin before losing in the quarter-final to Fernando Verdasco 6-4 6-4. Instead of heading to Beijing where he should have ended his season, Murray decided to withdraw due to a small ankle problem and switch his focus entirely on 2019 where he will try to regain his form and find the winning way after the toughest year and a half of his career. The three-time Grand Slam champion has won at least one title between 2006-2017 and this was the fewest number of matches he has played during the year since 2004 when he was yet to make an ATP debut.