LONDON – Former world number one Andy Murray will return to competitive action after almost a year's hiatus at next week's Queen's ATP tournament, organisers announced on Saturday. The 31-year-old Scot has not played a competitive match since he was knocked out of the Wimbledon quarter-finals last July, a hip injury ending his season.
Murray – who had targeted the grass court season for his return as he seeks a third Wimbledon title – underwent surgery on it in Australia in January after pulling out of the Australian Open.
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.
"Andy Murray has confirmed that he will play in the Fever-Tree Championships," the tournament said on its official Twitter account.
Murray, whose only other Grand Slam win was the 2012 US Open having lost five Aussie Open finals and once in the French Open final, faces temperamental but talented Australian Nick Kyrgios in the first round. 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 whilst the likes of Stan Wawrinka and mercurial Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov are among those lining up.
Murray, who had previously put off his planned return to grass by withdrawing from the Rosmalen event, has been holding practice sessions over the past two weeks.
The two-time Olympic singles champion measured his progress against up and coming compatriot Kyle Edmund and young American prospect Frances Tiafoe. Edmund, ranked 18 in the world, told The Times Murray was hitting the ball as well as ever.
"I was changing surface to come on to the grass so we wanted to do drills and get hours in the legs, work on the fitness," said Edmund.
"Obviously he wasn't going to be playing set after set straight away so we were drilling. I didn't say, 'How is it (the hip)?' I just got on and drilled.
"Even with time away from a match court he still hits a very good ball, very clean and is just a pure striker of the ball.
"That's never disappeared. I guess the thing is obviously the movement. But in terms of a ball-striker, it was no different."AFP