Andy Murray targets Australian Open return if fit enough to win

Murray 'played in pain' for 18 months

Andy Murray says he will only play in January's Australian Open if he is fit enough to win the tournament.

The Wimbledon champion has begun rehabilitation work following an operation on his back last month.

Recovery from the surgery to address a disc problem has prevented Murray from appearing at the ATP World Tour Finals in London in November.

"You don't come back just to play a match," said Murray. "If I come back I want to be in the shape to win it."

The Scot has finished as runner-up three times in Melbourne, losing the 2013 final in four sets to Novak Djokovic.

"I'd be disappointed to miss the Australian Open because its a Grand Slam - it's a tournament all the players want to play in," added the 26-year-old.

"I can look at this in a lot of positive ways, if I do get myself ready for it I will have had a long lead up and training block to get myself in the best possible shape."

Murray's back problems forced him to withdraw from the French Open in May, but he recovered to become the first Briton to win the Wimbledon men's singles title since Fred Perry in 1936.

In September, the world number four's defence of his US Open title ended in the quarter-finals, but he then helped Great Britain beat Croatia in the Davis Cup before surgery.

"It was a hard decision to have surgery, to realise I was going to miss a period of time was frustrating," he said.

"You realise how much you miss from competition where you're away from it. It will be hard missing London, but I'll just have to make the best of it."

Murray is keen to be fit enough to appear at an exhibition tournament in Barbadosexternal-link at the end of November, but he will assess his recovery over the next month.

"If there are some setbacks, then I am not going to rush back. I'd love to be able to play a match or two in Barbados, but I'll have a better idea of that in 10 days or two weeks."

Murray's coach Ivan Lendl added: "Everything is going to schedule so I would expect Andy to be in Melbourne and in tip-top shape and tip-top form."