ATP Tour

Murray to put hip to the test at Queen's

2018-06-16 19:14
Andy Murray (Getty)

London - Former world number one Andy Murray admits he will be battling his nerves as well as his body when he finally returns to action after almost a year's hiatus at Queen's Club next week.

The 31-year-old Scot has not played a competitive match since he was knocked out of the Wimbledon quarter-finals last July as a hip injury brought a painful end to his season.

Murray - who had targeted the grass court season for his return as he seeks a third Wimbledon title - underwent surgery on his hip in January after pulling out of the Australian Open.

But he has been practising regularly for the past fortnight and a final workout on Friday at Queen's Club with fellow Briton world number 79 Cameron Norrie convinced him to return.

"I've been practising the last couple of weeks and obviously building up each day. I started playing sets about a week ago," Murray said on Saturday.

"So, I played probably seven or eight sets, and I wanted to feel how I felt the following day after playing a couple of sets with Cam Norrie.

"I got tested by my physios this morning to make sure I hadn't stiffened up and lost any range of motion in my hip which can happen when you're tired and the hip's a bit angry.

"That wasn't the case. That was all positive and I pulled up pretty well from that, so then I decided to go for it."

Murray, whose other Grand Slam title came at the 2012 US Open, faces temperamental but talented Australian Nick Kyrgios in the Queen's first round.

He has never lost to Kyrgios in five meetings, yet would not have picked him as his first opponent after such a long lay-off.

"He's got a brilliant serve and obviously he's very, very talented," Murray added.

"He's unpredictable as well. The positive is that there probably won't be loads of long points."

Murray had only been seen on court during an exhibition for charity against Roger Federer last November, and one exhibition set against Roberto Bautista Agut in Abu Dhabi in December.

The two-time Olympic singles champion had previously put off his planned return by withdrawing from the Rosmalen even and waited until 30 minutes before the Queen's draw on Saturday before confirming his participation.

And, after such a long and frustrating rehabilitation period, Murray admits it will be a tense moment when he gets back on the court to face Kyrgios, with the match set for Monday or Tuesday.

"Well it's obviously eleven months since I last competed. So obviously I'm looking forward to it. There are a lot of doubts though as well when you've not played for a long time," Murray said.

"Coming back from injury you're always kind of second guessing yourself.

"You never know exactly when you're going to be ready, but I'm looking forward to getting back out there and competing, and hopefully playing well."

Despite the Briton having won the tournament five times, his tricky draw is due to his world ranking having dropped to 157.

Murray's half of the draw includes two former Wimbledon finalists.

Croatia's top seed Marin Cilic, who lost in the 2017 Wimbledon final to Roger Federer, and Canadian Milos Raonic, who Murray beat in the 2016 final, in what is Queen's strongest line-up in years.

Novak Djokovic, albeit seemingly not the force of old after his own return from injury problems, could await Murray in the final as he is in the other half of the draw.

Read more on:    atp  |  andy murray  |  tennis

 

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