There were plenty of signs of his old self in his first ATP tour win since his hip operation – a brave 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 victory over Tennys Sandgren in the humidity of the Zhuhai Championships.
However, the former world no. 1 has always made it clear that he will only continue his comeback while he is “enjoying himself”.
Speaking exclusively at the tournament, he has spelled out exactly what that means.
“If I was stepping on court in February and I did not feel I had any chance of going up against the best five players in the world and winning, I probably would not enjoy that,” Andy Murray said.
A month ago he lost 7-6, 7-5 to the American ranked 69 in the world at Winston-Salem – a defeat that sent him back to the Challenger tour for the first time since 2005.
The 32-year-old even admits that if he were to play any of them as soon as Shanghai in two weeks’ time – the next tournament in which they are all scheduled to compete – the result could even be a set-back.
“If I went out there against one of those three and lost 6-1, 6-1 and got killed, yeah, that is not necessarily productive,” he said.
“The mentality going into a match like that right now would not be ideal.
“Not that I ever felt playing them I was ever favourite, but I always felt I would have a chance.
“But right now, that would not be the case.
“Although, if I went and was actually competitive, did well and performed well, that can actually help, I don’t know…”
ANDY MURRAY TIMELINE
Nov 2016: Becomes world no. 1
May 2017: Reaches French Open semis despite growing hip concerns
Jul 2017: Limps out of Wimbledon after losing quarter-final.
Aug 2017: Misses US Open and rest of year
Jan 2018: Undergoes hip surgery
Jun 2018: Plays Queen’s but misses Wimbledon.
Sep 2018: Ends year early still in pain
Jan 2019: Hints at retiring after Australian Open
Feb 2019: Undergoes second hip operation.
Jun 2019: Wins doubles at Queen’s and plays Wimbledon
Aug 2019: Makes singles comeback in Cincinnati. Loses.
Sept 2019: Crashes out of Challenger event in third round.
Today: Wins first ATP event since his return.