ANDY Murray feels he is getting closer to peak physical shape as he prepares to return to competitive tennis in the new year, writes Stewart Fisher. In a video interview to confirm his participation in the Brisbane International tournament which begins on December 30, the Scot - who has been working for the last month or so with renowned rehab specialist Bill Knowles in Philadelphia – said he would be doing his customary pre-season training block in Miami then would likely spend Christmas in Australia. While others have been in action at the Paris Masters or ATP Tour finals, the Scot shut his season down when withdrawing from Beijing in September with an ankle injury.

“I am feeling physically a little bit better every day, it has obviously been a tough year with the hip injury and the surgery but I am getting closer,” said Murray. “I have been practising already for a few days and I have still got a couple of months to get myself in the best shape. I am planning to get myself to Brisbane pretty early this year - I’ll probably arrive a week before the start. I have spent four or five weeks in Philadelphia, doing a lot of off court training there, then I will get to Miami and do three or four weeks in the hot conditions out there.”

Aidan McHugh, meanwhile, was unable to back up his maiden tournament win when he went down 6-2, 1-6, 4-6 to India’s Adil Kanyapoor.