Exclusive: Andy Murray hints at reducing clay-court events
By Michael Hincks
Last Updated: 25/09/18 10:33am
Andy Murray has exclusively told Sky Sports that he will have to carefully manage his 2019 schedule, hinting he could reduce the amount of clay-court tournaments he enters.
The former world No 1 has played just 10 matches this year on his return to fitness following hip surgery in January, and will end his 2018 season after playing in Shenzhen and Beijing in the next two weeks.
The 31-year-old - currently ranked 311 in the world - says a lighter ATP Tour programme next year would be ideal, though how many tournaments he enters depends on how he fares in each event.
Asked if he would have to manage his schedule sooner than he would have liked, Murray replied: "I wouldn't say sooner.
"What's relevant is really how many matches you're winning. If you play a reduced schedule - like 10 or 11 tournaments in a year - but you only win 10 matches, playing 20 matches in a year is not really enough.
"You ideally want to have a lighter schedule and be winning matches. When you're coming back from a long lay-off, when rankings drop and you're not seeded in tournaments, it's difficult to do that.
"I'll manage my schedule based on how I'm doing in the tournaments. If I'm winning a lot of matches then I'll certainly reduce the amount [of tournaments] than what I used to play.
"I think in the 2016 season, which was my best year on the Tour, I think I played 15 or 16 tournaments. It's not really that many over the course of a year, but if you're winning lots it can add up to being like 80 matches, which is significant."
"I'll try to reduce more the number of matches I play rather than worrying about entering tournaments or not.
"If I win a tournament, I can always skip the following week, which is something I've not done in the past."
For the past two years, 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has skipped the clay-court season as part of a reduced schedule.
Missing the clay events in spring allows Federer to minimalise the risk of injuries and also to focus on Wimbledon, a move which led to victory in 2017, though the Swiss was undone in the quarter-finals by Kevin Anderson back in July.
As Murray assesses his options for 2019, the Briton admitted he could follow in Federer's footsteps, but did not suggest he would miss the clay season entirely.
Murray added: "Maybe during the clay-court season I might look to reduce my schedule a little bit there, play a bit less potentially to give myself bigger chunks in the year where I'm giving myself time to train and let my body rest and recover.
"Again that is probably something I haven't done much over the years, but that's how the tennis schedule works."
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Murray and Edmund were speaking as part of Jaguar's official vehicle partnership with Wimbledon. The exclusive interview took place in the latest F-PACE.