Former world no. 1, Andy Murray, who’s only just recovered from a hip injury, has admitted he may never be able to get back to his best level.
Murray spent 41 weeks at number one, but lost that ranking in August during his injury-enforced absence.
Now ranked 16th after his long lay-off, Murray’s targets for the new season, and potentially the rest of his career, have changed markedly from 12 months ago.
“My expectations aren’t massively high right now because I haven’t played for such a long time,” the double Olympic champion said.
“I want to enjoy playing again, I’ve really missed it the last six months or so. You re-evaluate what’s important to you.
“I want to be able to play tennis. I don’t mind if it’s 30 in the world level. I would love it to be number one in the world level but I just want to play.
“When that’s taken away from you, you realize how important it is. I’m just hoping I can get back to a level where I’m able to be really competitive.
“I want to get back to playing my best tennis and winning the biggest tournaments but if I don’t, I’m okay with that,” he added.
On his return to competitive tennis against Roberto Bautista Agut at the MWTC, there was an improvement, although a limp was still very much evident and he appeared hampered when pulled out on his forehand side.
The Scot, however, has said he is fit enough at least to start his campaign in Brisbane, with the Australian Open two weeks away.
“Unless something happens the next couple of days, I don’t see myself not playing because of my hip,” said Murray.
“I feel I need to play matches to see exactly where it’s at. Practicing and doing everything in the gym is great but playing matches is what I need.”