"It's been a really hard 18 months, a lot of ups and downs...I'm happy I'm back out here again. I'm going to try to enjoy it as much as I can. I don't know how much longer it's going to last..." Andy Murray said with a trembling voice.
Well, it lasted till the second round where he was defeated by a NextGen Daniil Medvedev in straight sets 7-5, 6-2. Murray's court coverage wasn't bad for a tennis chap with a bad hip as he also made good placement and had some nice strategies.
Playing smart will be the Brit's 'go to' techniques that won't allow his opponents to twist and turn him around like a pretzel. In the first set at 4-all, he made an excellent cross-court winner on the Medvedev and stood at net putting away a sweet volley winner.
At 5-all they had a battle of rallies, Andy showing a glimmer of what he used to be. Well, the Russian won the first set but Murray wouldn't go down easy in the second. The NextGen grabbed four straight games but Murray had slammed another volley winner to Medvedev who netted it.
The NextGen was consistent enough to win 7-5, 6-2 and Murray had said during the press conference afterwards "...He was playing right on the baseline and it was tough for me to dictate too many of the points." Last year this time was a completely different Murray.
Reeling from the pain he had to undergo hip surgery. The purpose was for him to return on tour and he explained that "The reason for having it done was to allow me to get back competing...that's what I want to keep doing...I'm not finished playing tennis yet," he emphasized.
Andy Murray had a big 'wake up and think call' when he withdrew from Wimbledon. He'd said "...I was thinking if I play a five-set match and it was four hours, how am I going to feel?" The level of his tennis was decent and previous to that he'd gotten through to the second round of the U.S.
Open first with James Duckworth, playing a gruelling four sets and then the second round where he lost to Fernando Verdasco doing another four set match. Murray's last appearance on the court was the Shenzhen Open resulting in a lost again to Fernando Verdasco in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.
During the press conference after Brisbane's first-round win for Murray, he looks now at everything as questionable. "I think I did ok, I did feel as the match went on I did think it got better. It wasn't particularly good tennis at the beginning...: He admitted that back in the summer he concentrated on not so much his game plan and strategies, but how his hip felt during every movement and that was no good to play with worry and doubt as he used to feel.
For the fans and tennis community it's great seeing Andy Murray back on the court, but at what condition and what price? He had said about his match with Duckworth that "...On the court today I felt a little bit of discomfort..." Murray was glad he was able to continue with minimal pain but isn't sure how things will go after that.
He is surely 'between a rock and a hard place' in his decisions to continue playing despite winning a match. In some regard, the torment is physical but more mental; of how will he feel during and after a match and if she should continue playing or not.
He looks at his competition of top-ranked guys or the upcoming NextGen players as Medvedev as challenging to his gameplay and body conditioning. "There is going to come a time where the youngsters take over..." he said truthfully.
He knows that at this point he won't be able to play solidly enough to defeat nearly any of them. All he will do is work on his hunches and how he feels and if he's winning. He can only be honest and says that "If I can keep my hip as it is today, I can play..." But starting his year in Australia is nice and he comments that "It was great to play at an atmosphere like that for the first match of the year to get back into the swing of playing".
Andy Murray knows that somewhere down the bumpy road, he'll have to hang up his rackets but it's not the idea of really where it will be, but when.