Fit­ness comes first for Mur­ray, Djokovic

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Front Page -

LON­DON – For­mer world num­ber ones Andy Mur­ray and No­vak Djokovic are rel­ish­ing their re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion af­ter se­ri­ous in­juries cut their last cam­paigns short, but the over­rid­ing aim for both play­ers in the New Year is to stay fit and healthy.

Mur­ray, who has strug­gled with a per­sis­tent hip in­jury since the Bri­ton’s quar­ter-fi­nal exit at Wim­ble­don in July, pulled out of the US Open and dropped to 16th in the world rank­ings.

The 30-year-old is sched­uled to par­tic­i­pate in the Bris­bane In­ter­na­tional which starts on De­cem­ber 31 as he gears up for the Aus­tralian Open, but a sea­son blighted by in­jury has changed the dou­ble Wim­ble­don cham­pion’s out­look.

“When I was fit and healthy last year (2016), you think about win­ning all the ma­jor events, get­ting to num­ber one and win­ning ev­ery com­pe­ti­tion that you are in and that is what drives you,” Mur­ray told Sky Sports.

“When you miss four or five months and there has been a bit of un­cer­tainty about my hip (that changes). The goals change and I re­mem­ber now how much I loved play­ing tennis – it isn’t about win­ning ev­ery match 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 was pretty un­healthy for most of this year and I am get­ting there, but it is a slow process.”

Djokovic suf­fered a year-long dip in form be­fore an el­bow in­jury forced him to re­tire in the Wim­ble­don quar­ter-fi­nals. The Serb has not played com­pet­i­tively since and un­der­went surgery.

“It’s been a real roller-coaster ride for me for a year and a half with this is­sue,” world num­ber 12 Djokovic told Sport360 in an in­ter­view ahead of his re­turn at the World Tennis Cham­pi­onship in Abu Dhabi.

“I’ve never had surgery in my life, I’ve never had any ma­jor in­juries that kept me away from the tour for such a long time . . . I’ve learnt a les­son be­cause I really want to avoid get­ting to that stage of an in­jury ever in my ca­reer af­ter this.

“I can’t wait to get back on the com­pe­ti­tion level but it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence for me to have. And it was a some­what nec­es­sary ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause I got maybe too com­fort­able with not hav­ing ma­jor in­juries.” (Reuters)

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