Andy Murray will enjoy a little longer at home than planned over the next week, but when the dust settles on his second-round defeat at the US Open, he will take stock and move on.

It’s what he has always done after difficult moments and it’s what he will do now, even if his latest early exit from a Grand Slam will ebb away at his conviction he can still be a contender at the very highest level.

Of course, the sheer fact that Murray is out there playing at all is testament to the skill of the doctors who performed his career-saving hip surgery in 2019, and most of all, to his incredible tenacity, work ethic and determination.

In his post-match press conference in New York, Murray wondered aloud whether he has it in him anymore, with his metal hip and at the age of 36, to make it deep in a Grand Slam, not least since he has not made it past the third round of a major since the operation.

At the same time, he knows he has got himself in a position, ranked around 40, where a couple of good tournaments in the next two months could see him get into the top 32, bringing, as it would in theory, a little protection in the first couple of rounds of slams and maybe allowing him to conserve energy for when the bigger players come along.

Last week, a few days before the US Open began, Murray was the guest on a podcast called Control the Controllables, hosted by Dan Kiernan, a former British player and now the director of the Soto Tennis Academy in Spain.

In it, Murray explains in detail what separates the greats from the rest of the players. 

“There are certain players that are just special and have everything. But the thing that probably separates the top, top players is probably the mind.

“I know people say that a lot, I often see it used just based on someone’s mindset during a match or in an important moment in the match but to me…it’s how do these players deal with losses.

“How do they learn from setbacks? How’s their mentality every single day in the year. When they’re training, are they cutting sessions short in the gym? Are they out partying when they should be in bed sleeping and preparing for the next day’s work.”

Murray said the way Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer never let their levels or standards drop separates them from the rest.

“You can work extremely hard for 10 years and be right on it for all those 10 years and as soon as you drop off for six months and you’re not focused on your practices and not doing all the right things away from the court and your training, you aren’t going to stay there,” he said.

“That’s what’s been amazing about what Novak, Rafa and Roger have done. That longevity of clearly loving the game but being able to focus and work hard on their tennis for such a long period.

“It’s not that you can’t enjoy other things and can’t enjoy life and have to solely be focused on tennis, it’s just when you show up to the practice court, are you working hard and putting in the right effort and when you show up at tournaments are you giving your best?”

Whenever he eventually decides to stop playing, Murray will go down as arguably Britain’s best ever sportsman, but watching him in his press conference in New York, he didn’t seem to be thinking of retiring just yet.

Instead, he was already talking about where he will play next, even if he admits it would be fair should he be left out of the Davis Cup team for this month’s group stages in favour of Cam Norrie, Dan Evans and perhaps Jack Draper.

Whether captain Leon Smith does leave Murray out remains to be seen but if that happens, Murray will begin getting himself ready for the Asing swing, a period of the year he has traditionally played well in.

He is five spots out from being in the main draw of Beijing, a tournament with an entry cut-off of 21 which Murray said “I’ve never seen before.”

If he doesn’t get in there, he will head to Zuhai in the week beginning September 20, with Shanghai and Tokyo likely to follow before a couple of events back in Europe. Then, he will really take stock.

Meanwhile, he will doubtless have an eye on New York, where Evans today takes on Carlos Alcaraz in the third round. It’s an enormous challenger for Evans, who is joined by Norrie and Draper in round three, but one he’s relishing.

“I’ll go out and enjoy it,” he said. “Whenever Carlos is around, it seems to be pandemonium so it’ll be a good atmosphere.”