Murray moderating his expectations

The Bolton News: Andy Murray is not getting carried away (AP) Andy Murray is not getting carried away (AP)

Andy Murray is tempering his expectations for the Australian Open for now as he continues his comeback after back surgery.

The world number four has played only two competitive matches since going under the knife following Great Britain's Davis Cup win over Croatia in September.

He has reached the final in Melbourne for three of the last four years, losing once to Roger Federer and twice to Novak Djokovic.

The second of those came last year and, after his victories at the US Open and Wimbledon, the Australian Open appeared an obvious next target.

Murray said of his mindset: "It's a bit different. Obviously I need to be pretty patient with myself and not expect too much.

"But you never know. I've done a lot of training the last few months, it's just I haven't played many matches.

"So if somehow I can work my way into the tournament, feel a little bit better every day, then I might start to raise those expectations.

"But for now they're not going to be obviously as high as they were the last few years. I'll just concentrate on my first match."

The draw does appear to have given Murray the chance to play himself in, with Japanese world number 112 Go Soeda first up and a qualifier after that.

Murray began his season at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi, where he lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before beating Stanislas Wawrinka.

He then moved on to the ATP Tour event in Doha and thrashed a local wild card but was then defeated by Germany's Florian Mayer in round two.

It was a reality check for Murray, who led by a set and a break but could not sustain the necessary intensity after so few matches.

On Friday he played another exhibition, this time losing to Lleyton Hewitt in two tie-breaks, and rebuilding his match toughness is the main priority.

He said: "There's no number you can put on it. It can come almost from one day to the next sometimes, or one tournament to the next.

"How many matches do you need before you're feeling 100 per cent match fit? I don't know.

"But I played a few matches in Doha, singles and doubles. Then obviously I practised a lot here. We'll see when the tournament starts.

"I'll have a better idea what I'm like playing five-set matches because that's also completely different to best of three, especially in the heat we're going to be playing in."

Most importantly, Murray reported no troubles from his back and he will begin his campaign on Tuesday.

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