LONDON – Andy Murray says his injury-ravaged season has forced him to take a cautious approach to what he can achieve when he returns to action.
Murray has been sidelined since July when he was beaten by Sam Querrey in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
That loss was caused largely by Murray's problems with a hip injury and he missed the US Open as a result of his fitness struggles.
The three-time major winner plans to make his comeback at the Brisbane tournament which starts on New Year's Eve. But despite also surrendering his world number one ranking during a frustrating year, Murray insists he won't be motivated solely by thoughts of Grand Slam glory once he gets back on court.
Instead, the Scot wants to first prove he is finally fit and start to enjoy his tennis again.
Everyone very skeptical on my chances😞
“When I was fit and healthy last year (2016) you think about winning all the major events, getting to No 1 and winning every competition that you are in and that is what really drives you,” Murray told Sky Sports. “When you miss four or five months and there has been a bit of uncertainty about my hip or stuff. I missed the US Open and almost missed Wimbledon as well.
“The goals change and I remember now how much I just loved playing tennis -- it isn't about winning every match that I play in the future or winning more slams. “I want to get back to playing tennis, I want to be fit and healthy and that is what is driving me just now.
“I am hoping next year I can get back to that and if I do then I have an opportunity to compete for the biggest tournaments in the world and I still believe that.”
Murray's ranking has slumped outside the top 10 for the first time in a decade, but the 30-year-old is confident he can still make an impact in the Grand Slams once he gets back into the groove.
“The major competitions are the ones that drive me more than the ranking. I want to compete. It was tough for me basically limping out of Wimbledon at the end,” Murray said. “I want to be competing hard and trying to win the Australian Open in January. That is ultimately what I want to be doing but first and foremost I need to get healthy.
“I was pretty unhealthy for most of this year and I am getting there but it is a slow process.”