Andy Murray's coach Jamie Delgado is confident that the Scotsman is ready for action and is expected to make a return at the Brisbane International, which starts on New Year's Eve. Murray last featured competitively at Wimbledon where he suffered a quarter-final loss to Sam Querrey and has taken the rest of the year off to recover from a hip injury.
The Briton started the year as the top ranked player in tennis for the first time in his career following his win at the ATP Finals in London in November 2016. However, poor form and injuries have hindered his calendar year with just the one title in Dubai. His best Grand Slam performance was a French Open semi-final exit.
However, the bad times may come to pass sooner than envisaged, with the former world no 1 set to take the stage as early as January to be fit for the Australian Open later that month. Murray made a comeback of sorts against Roger Federer in a charity match for Unicef and the Glasgow charity Sunny-sid3up.
Delgado was full of appreciation for Federer for coming down to play the charity match and revealed that Murray would need competition from players at his level to rediscover his groove.
"He's been working very hard in his rehab and his practice," Delgado told Sky Sports. "For sure, that's the goal [to play in Brisbane], and we believe that he'll get back to his best - 100%. He's improving all the time which is all you can ask at this stage and obviously he will start to play matches, he'll improve once he starts doing that as well.
"He played the exhibition last week in Scotland with Federer, that was good. That was the first time [since losing to Querrey in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon four months ago] that he had played against anyone at that level. His body recovered well after that. Then a few days later we came down here to practise with [Dominic] Thiem. That was a progression as well. He enjoyed it.
"The plan is to start in Brisbane in the first week of the year and then there is a week's gap between that and the Australian Open. We are in the process now of getting ready for a few weeks and try to get a pre-season block together, try and get some good players to practise with and pick up that level and get ready for Australia."