Andy Murray admits ‘concern’ Covid may wreck Australian Open bid as he changes plans

Andy Murray and Ash Barty pay tribute to each other

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Andy Murray has changed his plans in a bid to prevent Covid from derailing his preparations for the Australian Open. The 34-year-old will now limit his time training at the National Tennis Centre this coming week in an attempt to avoid contracting the virus.

The three-time major winner missed this year’s edition of the Grand Slam after testing positive for the virus weeks before it was due to begin and claimed he caught it at Roehampton training facility.

Now Murray is willing to take all the precautions necessary to ensure he can return down under for the first time since 2019.

The Scot admitted: “It’s a concern with the amount of cases there are back home just now. Obviously I want to try and stay safe.

“When I get home I will do all my physical training and stuff at home in my house. I am probably not going to go to the National Tennis Centre. There have been a number of cases there in the last week or 10 days.”

He added: “So, I will try to find a quiet court and go in there, do my practice, leave essentially and just be at home. Do all my treatment and training at home in the gym I have there until I am able to fly.

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“I will do my test for Australia on Christmas Day before flying out on December 27. Essentially I have six or seven days and try to stay safe over the Christmas period.”

Murray’s ongoing return from his surgery gained momentum at the end of this year, and he proved his form by beating Rafael Nadal and Dan Evans at the Mubadala Championships in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

However, he was defeated by Russia’s Andrey Rublev 6-4 7-6(2) in the final.

Following his semi-final victory over Nadal, he said: “Another chance to play against another top player for me.

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“Rublev had a fantastic season last year and he hits a huge ball from the back of the court so it certainly will test my movement out but I’m looking forward to playing in front of this crowd again.”

Outlining his goals for 2022, Murray has high expectations of himself and admitted he wanted to make deep runs in the bigger tournaments.

“I have been pretty healthy the last three months, I’ve got to play a lot of matches. Just need to find a way of turning some of these matches against the top players around. Hopefully I can have some big runs in the biggest tournaments again, that’s my goal,” he said, during the trophy ceremony after his final against Rublev.

Murray, who has two Olympic gold medals to go with his three Grand Slams, also admitted he would like to have a “fairytale” run next season, and set himself concrete goals of winning 700 matches and 50 titles, currently sitting at 691 and 46.

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“The biggest goal is to have a deep run in a Grand Slam and be in the quarter-finals, semi-finals of a Slam, have that sort of fairytale scenario where it’s like, ‘Could he do it again? Is it possible?’” he told Eurosport.

“It happened with – and I’m not saying I’m Roger Federer or Muhammad Ali, I’m certainly not. But I still have the ability to compete with the best players in the world.

“If my body is able to stay healthy, it’s certainly a possibility. And whilst that possibility is still there, I’m going to keep on keep trying to achieve what it is that I want.”

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