LONDON – Former world number one Andy Murray should have his fitness fully tested at the ATP Eastbourne event next week after being drawn against Swiss three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka.
The 31-year-old Scot – a two-time Wimbledon champion – will hope he gives a good account of himself against Wawrinka, who has reached the quarter-finals at the All England club twice, to commit himself to playing at Wimbledon which begins on July 2.
The winner will probably face another Briton Kyle Edmund in the second round. Murray lost his first competitive match in 11 months earlier this week on the grass of Queen's to Australian Nick Kyrgios.
Murray had not played competitively since a Wimbledon quarter-final defeat against Sam Querrey last year as he was beset by a hip problem which eventually required surgery in Australia in January.
Murray, whose ranking has plummeted to 156 in the world, is so keen to test his match fitness he will be playing at the Eastbourne tournament for the first time since 2006.
Wawrinka can sympathise with the two-time Olympic singles gold medallist. Wawrinka needed two operations on a knee problem last year and, in a trend Murray will hope to buck, the 33-year-old still isn't back to his best.
Indeed Wawrinka – who has won just two of his last nine ATP Tour matches – reflected on his own experience when commenting on Murray earlier this week after he too exited at Queen's.
"Even when you come back on the tour, you need to still be patient, because it's not going to come back like that and you're going to be the same player as one year before," said Wawrinka.AFP