For the first time in over a year, there is optimism about Andy Murray’s road back from injury. Sources suggest that, having gone through all of May without hitting a ball, he’s picked up his racket again and is moving more freely on court.
Murray’s step back from training scuppered his original plans to play in one of the Lawn Tennis Association’s new Challenger tournaments, either in Glasgow or Loughborough. But after spending around five weeks away from the court, he returned just over a week ago, with initially encouraging results. Fears that this chronic hip injury could career-ending seem to be receding.
Murray will make a late decision on whether to play at next week’s Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club. But coming back at Queen’s would seem risky with the increased chances of falls on grass. Wimbledon could be a target, but it is a best-of-five-set tournament, played over seven rounds.
Murray might be better advised to focus on the hard-court season. He has already entered Washington’s Citi Open at the end of July, and the Shenzhen Open in China in late September.
Meanwhile Roger Federer is on a draw-sheet again for the first time since March 24. Federer earns a first-round bye at this week’s event in Stuttgart thanks to his lofty ranking – he is still the world No 2 despite skipping the entirety of the clay-court season – and will then play either a qualifier or Mischa Zverev, the world No 64, in the second round.
Finally, Dan Evans fell at the semi-final stage of the Surbiton Challenger on Saturday against world No 86 and top seed Jeremy Chardy. Still, Evans’ deep run will carry him up a hefty 328 places to No 530, as well as earning him entry to next week’s Nottingham Challenger without requiring a wild card from the LTA.