Andy Murray targets 2020 Australian Open for return to peak strength

Andy Murray strives for a delicate balance of tennis with comeback

It's been a long road back for Murray, who broke down in tears following his exit from January's Australian Open, fearing his career might be over. Murray's defeat showed disappointment among his fans.

Dutchman Rojer was then broken and Lopez held his serve this time to level the scores.

The tie-break was a one-sided affair as Murray and Lopez eased away to book their place in the second round against American pair Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock.

The former World No.1 was back on court as a singles player on Monday for the first time since having a metal plate inserted into his hip joint last January - surgery which saved his career. Murray opened the game with a double fault, and his forehand into the net gave Gasquet a match point that the 56thranked Frenchman converted when Murray sent a service return wide to end the match after 96 minutes.

But Murray suggested that his relatively early decision to not play singles at the US Open - where he won the singles title in 2012 - was hastened by what happened two years ago, when his late withdrawal from the tournament drew flak because he was seen to be leaving the men's draw badly unbalanced - and ultimately devoid of top-10 players by the fourth round.

The Scot was partnered by Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Wimbledon in the doubles while he played with Serena Williams - dubbed "SerAndy" - in the mixed doubles.

'Nine to 12 months after the operation is when I would expect to be getting close to the best I can be physically, ' Murray told BBC Sport. "I think with a few more weeks of practice and hopefully some more matches, then I could do better", said Murray, who nevertheless said after the match that he did not intend to play singles at the US Open. You can hit as many speed targets as you like but once you get out on court it's very different'.

"I felt pretty good today", he said.

"I'm certainly not going to go backwards from here", he added.

When he drop-shotted, there were a few times I didn't even run to the ball, didn't react to it, and that's nothing to do with my hip.

"At the end, I did start reacting and I actually got to some pretty hard shots, so that was good", he said.

"It's not something that's been tried or done before in tennis".

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