"Especially when you've just had surgery, on your back, it's important that you don't come back just to play a match or to [play at] the Australian Open," Murray said yesterday. "I want to be in shape to win it. If I do get myself ready for it I will have had a long lead-up and training block, really, to get myself in the best possible shape."
Loading article content
It is just less than six weeks since the Wimbledon champion, three-times the runner-up in Melbourne, had surgery on his back and he has been focusing his rehabilitation in the pool and in the gym. To that end, Murray has been mingling with the millionaires at Chelsea, using their high-technology training facilities at their Cobham complex, and sharing stories with manager Jose Mourinho. "I'm doing a lot of stuff in the swimming pool, like the anti-gravity running," Murray said. "Most of the stuff is just straight-line running in the pool. It's basically like an underwater treadmill, which has been a massive help for me. It's sped up the recovery a lot. The first day I was in, Mourinho came down to chat. He didn't give me any advice but it was really interesting to speak to him.
"I try not to disrupt [the players] at all. I usually go in around 2-3 o'clock. It has been great, really helpful."
Murray plans to begin hitting "very lightly" next week and is scheduled to return for an exhibition event in Barbados at the end of the month. While doctors and physios are happy with his recovery, Murray remains cautious. "I have still got quite a way to go until I am 100%," he said.
When it comes to his back, Murray has never been one for specifics, but yesterday he denied it was disc-related. "I don't want to go in my medical history, but there were a few issues going on with my back that were causing me quite a lot of pain," he said. "It started in December 2011, it got worse for a period of time and then kind of stayed the same. Then it started to be up and down. I just couldn't handle playing with that pain any longer. All the things I like to do away from the court - football, go-karting, golf, other sports - I wasn't able to do any of that. [I was thinking] 'I don't want to have to do that for the next five or six years. I don't want to just have to do hours of physio every day'. I was having to adjust the way I was training on the court, adjust the way I was training in the gym. I just wanted to be able to do all the things that I used to be able to do; hopefully, this will have helped."