London - Former
world No 1 Andy Murray made a victorious return after what he
described as "life-changing" hip surgery at a raucous Queen's on
The three-time Grand Slam champion partnered Spain's Feliciano Lopez
to a 7-6 (7/5) 6-3 victory in his first competitive match in five
Playing on a packed centre court including his wife Kim, Murray
showed little fear in stretching himself despite being off the circuit
His friend Lopez did not show any sign either of being burdened by
the allegations made against him of match-fixing in the Spanish media,
which he strongly denied on Wednesday.
Murray said afterwards he would be playing doubles at Wimbledon with Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Murray said he had learned quite a bit from the match.
"I expected to be the worst player on the court and to not feel
particularly good on the court which you know was probably the case in
the first set," he said.
"I started to play better in the second and have zero discomfort in
my hip which would not have been the case last year, I would have been
aching and throbbing."
Murray, who will take to the court again on Friday as he and Lopez
play the last match on centre court against yet to be decided opponents,
said a return to singles remains a while away.
"I feel optimistic about the future," said Murray, although he would
be making history as no player has returned to singles after undergoing
such an operation before.
"I don't know how long it will take to get to that level, but you know, hopefully not too long."
Murray, who said
he had tried to find a mixed doubles partner for Wimbledon, said that he
had been concerned at some parts of the match.
"The court can get quite slippery and when I was outside the doubles alley I felt a bit uncomfortable at times," he said.
He told the BBC immediately after the match that he felt the nerves.
"I felt quite relaxed in the build-up, but we said as we were walking
on to the court that we were starting to feel a bit nervous," he said.
"But you need those butterflies."
Murray sealed the first-set tie-break against top seeds Juan
Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah with an imperious forehand which
clipped the net and provoked the Scotsman to raise his hand
The 32-year-old Scot was all action at the net, securing the first
game on their serve in the second set with a brilliant volley which
their opponents just got back, but left Murray to put the ball into an
The number of slapping of hands and fist pumping increased between
Lopez and Murray as they took hold of the match and the two-time Olympic
champion visibly relaxed as he found his rhythm - aided no end by the
whooping and hollering from his impassioned home supporters in this
usually sedate part of London.
He was all over the court, his confidence surging to the extent that
he put them 3-2 up on serve with a stunning one-handed backhand winner.
Two magnificent aces followed to put them within a game of victory -
and not even a warning for a time violation for taking too long over a
discussion could dull their joy.
They had little trouble in closing out the match with Lopez serving
brilliantly, and at the end the pair hugged each other as fans in the
crowd brandished the Union Jack in celebration.
Results from the ATP tournament at Queen's Club on Thursday (x denotes seeding):
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x1) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 4-6, 7-6 (7/0), 7-6 (7/4)
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x8) bt Nick Kyrgios (AUS) 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/3), 7-5
Milos Raonic (CAN x6) bt Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-3, 7-6 (7/3)
Diego Schwartzman (ARG) bt Marin Cilic (CRO x5) 6-4, 6-4
Daniil Medvedev (RUS x4) bt Lucas Pouille (FRA) 7-6 (11/9), 6-7 (5/7), 6-4
Nicolas Mahut (FRA) bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI x7) 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (7/2)
Gilles Simon (FRA) bt Kevin Anderson (RSA x2) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x1) bt Kyle Edmund (GBR) 6-3, 7-5
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) bt Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 7-6 (7/4), 6-3
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x8) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 6-4, 6-4