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Murray vows to return in time for Wimbledon after having surgery


By Eleanor Crooks

Andy Murray underwent surgery on his right hip yesterday morning and is aiming to return to competitive tennis for the 2018 grass-court season.

The 30-year-old, who has not played competitively since Wimbledon last summer and last week withdrew from this month's Australian Open, announced via his official Facebook page that he had gone under the knife in Melbourne.

Murray is now eager to be back in time for this year's grass-court season, which starts at Queen's on June 18 before Wimbledon begins a fortnight later.

He wrote: "Today I underwent successful right hip surgery at the St Vincent Hospital in Melbourne. I'd like to thank Dr John O'Donnell and all the staff for looking after me. I look forward to returning to competitive tennis during the grass-court season.

"Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes and support. I'll come back from this."

Murray last week posted an emotional message on Instagram, detailing his disappointment at being forced to withdraw from the Brisbane International.

The now World No.19 said the two options available to fix his troublesome hip were to continue with rehab or have surgery, for which he admitted the chances of success were not as high as he would have liked.

But, after undergoing the operation in Australia, Murray's outlook was more optimistic.

"I'm very optimistic because, having spoken to the surgeon after he did the surgery, he was very happy about how it went," Murray said. "He felt that my hip will be feeling better than it did a year ago and, obviously, I was still doing fine a year ago, I was ranked No.1 in the world.

"Moving forward, I'll certainly be playing a reduced schedule, and then focusing more on trying to win major events and big tournaments rather than trying to achieve certain ranking goals."

Murray also said he underwent some minor surgery on his groin on December 18.

He concedes he may only ever be able to reach 95 per cent fitness, but believes that would still be enough to challenge for Grand Slam titles.

"I've been fairly competitive with top-50 players in the world practising in Brisbane when I was struggling to move, and I made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon when I literally couldn't walk and was in so much pain," Murray said.

"So if I can get myself to 95 per cent of my best, I believe that's enough to compete at the highest level. No question."

• Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka has become the latest star to pull out of the Melbourne tournament.

The 28-year-old won the Grand Slam in 2012 and 2013, but is "unable to travel to Australia this year", organisers said.

She has previously missed tournaments owing to an ongoing child custody battle.

Azarenka, currently ranked 210th in the world, had been given a wild card entry into the tournament, which begins on January 15.

Tournament director Craig Tiley tweeted: "It's unfortunate that @vika7 is unable to travel to Australia this year. The #AusOpen is her favourite tournament and she's looking forward to returning to Melbourne next year."

Last week, reigning ladies singles champion Serena Williams said she would not play in Melbourne.

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