• ATP Tour

Murray would be right to skip Australian Open - Henman

ESPN staff
November 2, 2013
Henman has concerns over Murray's fitness ahead of the Australian Open © PA Photos

Tim Henman has backed Andy Murray's decision to pull out of the Australian Open if the Wimbledon champion fails to recover fully from surgery in time.

Murray went under the knife in September to solve a back problem and is already out of next week's ATP World Tour finals at the O2.

And he admitted recently that he would only head to Melbourne for the opening grand slam of the season if he was 100% fit - a plan backed by Henman.

"I've seen a fair bit of him in the last month and it seems like he's making good progress," Henman, who never got past the fourth round at the Australian Open, said.

"I like what I see and what I hear but it's very important he doesn't come back until he's 100%. There's no point in rushing it, especially given the standard at the top of the game these days.

"You can't compete unless you're 100% so Andy needs to remain patient. There's obviously a carrot there with the first grand slam of the year but he's got to be realistic.

"You're playing five-set matches and you need to be ready for that. The last thing he will want to do is come back too early and suffer a setback that would put him out for longer.

"Any time you have surgery it's going to be invasive but he's got a very good team around him.

"I don't think he knows yet whether he will make Australia but he seems to be moving in the right direction and he's able to do more and more physically.

"I had shoulder and elbow surgery while I was playing and I can remember what a frustrating time it was. Injuries are part and parcel of the game and the reality is with the amount of tennis that they play most players will be playing with niggles pretty much all of the time.

"But this is something that has been giving him pain down his leg and it's stopping him doing a lot of things. He's 26, he's got a lot of his career ahead of him. This is about enabling him to become a better player."

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