Andy Murray says he has "no expectations" as he prepares to begin his comeback -- initially in doubles only -- at London's Queen's Club this week, testing his new metal hip in match conditions for the first time.
But even though it is less than five months since his surgery, the former world No. 1 also admits that anything is possible, including winning the doubles title at Wimbledon next month.
"Yeah, I think it's possible," Murray said Sunday at Queen's Club, where he will start the long road back this week, partnering Feliciano Lopez in the Fever-Tree Championships.
"But it doesn't matter either way," Murray continued. "I would like to, but I don't mind if I don't. I would say it would be unlikely (to win the title), because I've not played many matches. And doubles on grass, it's not like you sort of ease yourself into matches a little bit -- points are over pretty quickly, you need to be quite sharp. It'll depend how quickly I can get my reflexes and things like that back. It's been OK in practice, but obviously matches is a different story."
Murray had surgery on January 29 to remove the damaged bone and cartilage within his right hip socket, replacing it with a metal shell.
After extensive rehabilitation, Murray said in March that he was pain-free for the first time in several years and -- after stepping up his practices in recent weeks -- he made the decision to begin his comeback in doubles.
Murray said he was excited to see how he would fare. "I can't tell you how I'm going to feel when I get back on the court (but) I feel lucky, pretty relaxed," he said. "I didn't expect to be in this position. I didn't know how I was going to feel if I went to have the operation but it has been brilliant, completely life-changing for me from where I was, and I'm looking forward to getting back out there.
"But also I don't know what to expect and I'm not putting any expectations on myself, because just being out there on a tennis court again and being comfortable and pain-free will be enough. I'll enjoy competing, I've enjoyed practising, hitting tennis balls and doing all the things that I couldn't do even a few months ago."
When he announced in Australia in January that he may have played his last match, before eventually deciding to try surgery, Murray said he could not see himself just playing doubles on the tour. But he explained on Sunday that -- with only half the court to cover -- doubles will be a good judge of his recovery, rather than going straight back into singles.
"My goal is still to get back to playing singles, that's what I would like to do ultimately," Murray said. "I would say it was six to eight weeks ago I was chatting to my team about the best way to get back onto the court again, singles-wise... and we felt that doubles would be a good option to test myself out and see how I feel.
"There's obviously less loading on the body, less movement, but you still have to make quick moves and quick reactions and things like that, and it felt like it was quite a nice progression from all of the rehab that I have been doing. Going back onto the court and seeing how I'm feeling on a match court playing doubles will give me some information on where I'm at and what I need to improve."
After Queen's, Murray plans to play in the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne, perhaps with Lopez, before playing at Wimbledon with an as-yet unannounced partner.
Having played through pain for a long time, he said simply being back on the court will be a joy in itself.
"There were a number of times over the last 18 months that I did want to stop, I didn't want to play anymore," Murray said. "I was getting no enjoyment out of tennis at all, whether that be training, practice, winning matches. I wasn't really bothered, because it wasn't fun. Now it is nice. I just like playing tennis. I want to keep playing if I can, because I enjoy it.
"It would be nice to be winning Wimbledon and major tournaments, but hardly anyone gets the opportunity to do that and there are still loads of players that love and enjoy the sport without being able to win the biggest competitions," Murray said.
"I would hope that I would be able to deal with that absolutely fine as well and just enjoy it. I've enjoyed practising and training for doubles, getting ready for this event, although it is different to what I am used to. I'm fine with that, it's not a big deal."