Tim Henman has praised the dedication and commitment of Andy Murray to continue playing tennis despite having to miss the Australian Open.
Henman, a former British number one himself, was talking about Murray's longevity within the game, alongside other Grand Slam winners Serena Williams and Roger Federer.
Murray, twice Wimbledon champion, was rebuilding his tennis career after undergoing major hip surgery in 2019 when the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season.
He hoped to make a return to competition at the Australian Open this year but tested positive for COVID just days before departure and was prevented from joining the tournament much to his disappointment.
Murray, once recovered, decided to take part in the Biella 1 Challenger tournament in Italy reaching the final last week and Henman says the determination of the now 33-year-old is a quality he admires greatly.
"With the longevity of players such as Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, when you look at the hunger and desire, that is an area I salute" said Henman to Eurosport.
"They've all achieved so much in the game, but they still want to be out there, they still believe they can win those big titles, and that is where a special mention goes to Andy.
"It is easier when you're playing in the biggest and best tournaments in the world.
"Whereas when you've been number one in the world and won slams to be dropping down to a lower level playing in a hall in Italy, that does take tremendous dedication, motivation and commitment.
"I really hope he can use these experiences and benefit from the effort to give him the platform and foundation to get on the main tour.
"There will always be speculation and people in the media questioning why Andy is doing it and at the end of the day, it's the best job in the world to be out there competing.
"While he's enjoying it and while he has the belief, he should do it as long as he wants to do it. And he's absolutely earned that right.
"There's no doubt when you've had those set backs and he's had such a challenging three years, I think we could all understand if he suddenly said 'I can't keep doing this'.
"But speaking to him and (coach) Jamie Delgado over the off season, his work ethic and effort into all different aspects has been as great as its ever been and that is phenomenal to hear."
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