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Andy Murray feels right at home after his triumphant return to action at Queen's

Stuck in: Andy Murray returns
Stuck in: Andy Murray returns

By Andy Sims

Andy Murray enjoyed a winning return to competitive action as he and Feliciano Lopez sank top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah at Queen's Club.

Former World No.1 and three-time Grand Slam winner Murray is making his tentative comeback from what he hopes was career-saving hip surgery in the doubles at the Fever-Tree Championships.

And a bumper Centre Court crowd was treated to some vintage Murray as the five-time Queen's singles champion and his Spanish partner ran out 7-6 (5) 6-3 winners.

After all the tearful goodbyes in January, it was as if Murray had never been away.

Clearly the Colombians are a slick doubles partnership, but they could never have imagined facing a duo like three-time Grand Slam winner Murray and Lopez, himself a singles winner at Queen's, in the first round.

It had only been 143 days since Murray, fearing being forced into retirement, underwent the hip resurfacing surgery.

He and Lopez had never played together, and had barely trained together. Moreover, Murray had not swung a racket in anger in five months.

The fact that Lopez had been compelled to issue a fierce denial of links to allegations of match-fixing in Spain a day earlier was not ideal preparation.

But somehow they clicked and at the end of a first set that went with serve, a ferocious Murray forehand clipped the net tape on its way past Cabal and clinched the tie-break.

This was no Wimbledon singles epic, but it was no exhibition either. Murray wanted to win and the familiar fist pump was on display following a succession of winners in the second set.

Pain-free, Murray was moving fine, serving well and volleying like a doubles specialist.

Victory was wrapped up in an hour and 14 minutes, and afterwards Murray said: "It was brilliant, I enjoyed it a lot. I was a bit slow at the beginning but got better as the match went along.

"I'm really fortunate to be playing tennis again. I absolutely love playing on this court, it's a brilliant place to play.

"I felt quite relaxed in the build-up, but we said as we were walking onto the court that we were starting to feel nervous. But you need those butterflies."

• Nick Kyrgios had an eventful day at Queen's Club.

The outspoken Australian moaned, groaned and swore his way through two matches, picking up a code violation in each, and exited the tournament with a predictable rant at the officials.

During his first-round win against Roberto Carballes Baena, Kyrgios launched an expletive-ridden rant at umpire Fergus Murphy after missing a set point, claiming the Spaniard had double-faulted.

He said: "Bro, you are taking the f****** p*** mate? The ball was this far out, no joke. No joke. What are you doing?"

The 24-year-old also accused a line judge of "rigging" the match, and admonished himself for "playing Fifa until 3am".

As if that were not enough, Kyrgios faced a second match due to rain delays earlier in the week and was beaten by Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime.

He walked onto court muttering that he had "zero chance of winning", but he should have, only to tank in the final game.

It was a relatively tame affair by comparison, although Kyrgios still managed to collect a code violation after smacking a ball right out of Queen's Club.

Kyrgios said: "Some of the calls were outrageous. I don't think, at this level of sport, that we should have line judges and umpires that aren't making the right decisions."

Belfast Telegraph


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