Andy Murray will make a return of sorts to a tennis court for the first time in more than four weeks tonight, when he fulfils his commitment to play a charity exhibition match against Roger Federer in Zurich.
And according to sources close to the world No 1, he is set to make an altogether more serious comeback when the ATP clay-court season starts in earnest at the Monte Carlo Open next week.
It is 31 days since Murray last played, losing his opening match in the Indian Wells Masters event. He has since been suffering from an elbow injury and the effects of being generally run down, with bouts of shingles and flu in the last two months.
Judging by pictures in the last few days from the academy run by Serena Williams’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, in Nice, he is in much ruder health before the busiest part of the season. His return was too late for the quarter-final of the Davis Cup, which saw Great Britain already beaten by Saturday night.
In yesterday’s dead rubbers Dan Evans won a distinctly light-hearted encounter 6-1, 6-2 against French doubles player Julien Benneteau and a final 4-1 scoreline was sealed when Jeremy Chardy beat Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-4.
It is now 10 months before Britain will play in the Davis Cup again, having secured their place in the 16-team 2018 World Group by reaching the last eight for the fourth consecutive year.
Captain Leon Smith expects a renewed commitment from Murray to the team next year, and thinks that one day he will be sitting courtside in the skipper’s chair. ‘He can for sure take my job when he’s ready, I would vacate this seat for him,’ said Smith.
‘But he has got a long way to go yet. He loves playing so it wouldn’t surprise me if he plays on tour for a long time and carries on with the Davis Cup. He’s always liked team events and I know how much he missed here.’