Andy Murray rejigs match preparation in bid to avoid injury relapse
Andy Murray has reinvented his match preparations and recovery routine in an attempt to ensure his return from injury is a success.
The Scot secured his first victory in almost a year on Monday when he impressively defeated Stan Wawrinka in straight sets at the Nature Valley International.
He had only last week returned after a long-term struggle with injury led to hip surgery, and had contributed to his world ranking falling from first to 157th.
On Wednesday in Eastbourne he meets Kyle Edmund in the competition’s second round, and in the knowledge his compatriot has since succeeded him as the British number one.
Murray’s wider focus is regardless on ensuring he adjusts to the new demands on his body, and also the specific threats posed by the world’s leading players.
“The day after a match last year I would have hit the following day, but after the match against Nick (Kyrgios last week) I was in the swimming pool, had a bit of massage, then spent an hour and a half with my physio,” the 31-year-old told BBC Sport.
“I’ve been doing more in the pool recently and been doing that before matches too, getting in the pool to loosen up a little bit. That is something new that I haven’t done in the past.
“I do aqua-jogging, stretching, different movements; leg swings and hip swings, no loading or impacting, trying to get the body moving again.
“I wasn’t feeling great in the 24 hours after the match against Nick. I had soreness in the hip and stiffness in the lower back and the glutes.
“I don’t necessarily have to practise for three hours a day before events like I would have done in the past - feeling like that is what I had to do to perform well.
“Maybe that’s not the case now. Maybe I can rest my body a little more.
“Movement is the most important thing I need to work on because all the guys who are playing at the top of the game can hit the ball extremely well.”
For perhaps the first time Murray will face Edmund, who he practised with on Sunday, with the 23-year-old as the favourite.
Should Murray lose it will be tempting for observers to view their match as a passing of the torch, similar to the Scot’s victory over Tim Henman in 2005, but he said: “Kyle’s a brilliant player, that’s the challenge, not because he’s a fellow Brit.
“I played Tim Henman a few times when I was coming up, and Kyle a couple of times, but it is more the challenge of playing a really good player rather than someone who I know pretty well.
“In the past 12-18 months Kyle has done fantastic things and is improving all the time.
“He is playing better grass-court tennis than he has done in the past so it will be tough.”