Andy Murray made his belated arrival in Australia on Saturday afternoon as he steps up preparations ahead of his proposed injury comeback at the Brisbane Open next week.
The British No 1 was seen walking through Brisbane International Airport with several large bags as he came prepared to play in his first ATP tournament since Wimbledon last summer.
Murray arrived after a surprisingly busy layover in Abu Dhabi, where he was a late replacement for Novak Djokovic in a one-set exhibition match against Roberto Bautista Agut, which he lost 6-2.
Andy Murray makes his way through Brisbane International Airport on Saturday afternoon
The bleary-eyed British No 1 arrived after an unexpectedly busy day in Abu Dhabi
Murray makes his competitive comeback at the Brisbane Open next week after six months out
His lacklustre display would have come as little concern, however, as his main focus will be preparing for the first grand slam of the season, the Australian Open, which begins in Melbourne next week.
The Brisbane Open will be an important step in Murray’s return from a longstanding hip injury, which saw him miss the latter half of the 2016 season. He has been granted a first-round bye and will face American Ryan Harrison or Leonardo Mayer of Argentina in the second round.
Although Murray still appeared to be walking with a limp during his defeat in Abu Dhabi, he was happy with his display against the world No 20 and suitably encouraged to take an early flight to Australia.
The former world No 1 lost a one-set exhibition match against Roberto Bautista Agut on Friday
Murray was far from his best in the 6-2 defeat, but claimed he was encouraged by his display
‘I felt better as it went on,’ he said afterwards. ‘Obviously I was a little slow at the start. When you haven’t competed for a while it takes time to get up with the pace.
‘I will need to keep improving. I was lucky to be able to come out and play, it was good fun, I’ve missed it.’
One player who will have to wait a little longer for his comeback is Djokovic, who has been forced to withdraw from the Qatar Open due to a recurrence of an elbow injury that has, like Murray, kept him out since Wimbledon.
The Serb is now a major doubt for the Australian Open, but has yet to announce any decision on his participation in Melbourne and remains on the start list.
Fellow Brit Jo Konta is already settled in Australia ahead of her own appearance at the ATP’s first tournament of the new season and was pictured training at the Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane on Saturday.
Konta is the fifth seed going into the tournament but faces a tough opening round against US Open finalist Madison Keys.
Jo Konta is already settled in Australia ahead of her own appearance at the Brisbane Open
Konta practiced at the Pat Rafter Arena ahead of the opening tournament of the ATP season