IN the past few years, as Andy Murray has battled for form and fitness with a metal hip, he has often been asked just why he continues to put himself through all the effort.

With three Grand Slam titles to his name, including two Wimbledon wins, two Olympic gold medals, 46 career tournament wins and a Davis Cup winners’ medal, Murray’s place in tennis history is secure.

But as the 35-year-old continues his final preparations for Wimbledon, he revealed the reason he keeps pushing himself to the limit on the biggest stages, especially at Wimbledon.

“I do believe that if physically I’m in a good spot and I have prepared well that I still believe there are great performances in me against the best players and in those sorts of matches,” Murray told a small group of reporters this week.

“I love playing those matches. The thing that has been frustrating for me in the last few years is going into those matches – not all of them but some of them – and not being in a good place with my tennis. Or not being in a good place physically and not being able to compete to the level that I believe that I can.

“In the last few weeks I have shown that when physically I’m in a good place and my game is in a good place, and I have been able to prepare well, that is really, really exciting.”

Murray reached the third round at Wimbledon last year but was well-beaten by Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

The Scot, who reached the final in Stuttgart earlier this month, admitted he was frustrated by his level against Shapovalov.

“I didn’t feel like I was able to do myself justice,” he said. “I was frustrated because I had done so much rehab and training and work and everything. I had not got myself to a position where I was able to be competitive in a big match on Centre Court. But those occasions are also the ones that still drive me to continue doing all of those things.

“That is one of the reasons why I’m still playing. Not just to play a second-round match against Oscar Otte (whom he beat last year). But to play the final of Wimbledon against Djokovic. Or Nadal. Or Berrettini. One of those guys. That’s ultimately what I want to do.”

Getting to another final, with his metal hip and everything that entails, will be far from easy, and Djokovic could block his path, should he make it to the quarter-finals this year.

But his form has been good and if he has been able to shake off the niggling abdominal injury which he suffered in Stuttgart and which forced him to skip Queen’s, then he will fancy his chances of making a good run.

The 35-year-old will play Australian James Duckworth in the first round and could take on Jannik Sinner in round three, with teenage Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz a possible fourth-round opponent.

This year’s Wimbledon marks 10 years since the day Murray endeared himself to a nation when he cried during his post-match interview with Sue Barker on Centre Court, after he had lost the final to Roger Federer.

Until then, Murray had always been popular but his vulnerability clicked with the fans and when he returned a year later, he was roared to victory.

This will be Barker’s last time anchoring BBC’s coverage. Murray said he had always enjoyed talking to the woman who won the French Open in 1976 before transitioning to become one of the best-loved figures in TV sport.

“Away from the camera, I always loved chatting to Sue,” Murray said. “It was like chatting to my mum or a relative almost. She has that warmth to her. I think she seems like a genuinely nice person.

“I mean this as a compliment but she was obviously an amazing tennis player. And a lot of people maybe don’t realise that about her because she has become so good at what she does now. I think that that’s a pretty good compliment when you’ve been as good at some things she has been. To be now known as something different is pretty, pretty cool.”