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Pain-free Murray stays confident

MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — Andy Murray said he is free of pain and has no timeframe for retirement after engineering a turnaround to win his first match of the season on Wednesday.

The 35-year-old Scot earned a morale-boosting victory ahead of next week’s Australian Open with a typically battling 2-6, 6-3, 10-2 defeat of China’s Zhang Zhizhen at the Kooyong Classic.

Three-time major winner Murray has been dealing with major hip and abdominal injuries for half a decade and fell ill in the off-season.

But he said his tennis was taking flight again, having lost his Adelaide International first-round match last week to Jannik Sinner.

“A lot of things go into it (retirement) — first there is my family, the most important. Then there is my health,” said the former world No. 1, who is now ranked 49.

“I’ve been healthy the last seven months. I’m not awakening with aches and pains like in the last few years.”

“As long as the body holds up well and I’m training properly and performing to a level I’m enjoying, then I will keep going. But I don’t have a timeframe.”

Four-time Australian Open finalist Murray got valuable match training in bright sunlight at Kooyong, the private club in Melbourne which hosted the Open until 1988.

He had trouble getting started, trailing 5-0 in the early stages against China’s top player.

But after dropping the opening set, Murray’s tennis came alive as he raced to victory with a runaway match tiebreaker third set.

“I felt rushed at the start and a little bit slow on my feet,” Murray said.

“But once I got adjusted I served well and hit the ball nicely.”

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