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Defiant Murray out to show his injury woes are in past

 

Welcome sight: Andy Murray practices at Queen’s Club ahead of his doubles clash
Welcome sight: Andy Murray practices at Queen’s Club ahead of his doubles clash

By Andy Sims

Andy Murray steps back onto a tennis court tomorrow just 143 days after undergoing a hip operation in a bid to salvage his career.

The two-time Wimbledon champion and former World No.1 tearfully announced at January's Australian Open that it may have to be his last tournament, such was the pain his chronic injury was giving him.

Instead, on January 28, Murray went under the knife and had a metal plate inserted into the joint.

The surgery has left him pain free, and he is due back in competitive action alongside Feliciano Lopez tomorrow in the men's doubles at Queen's Club.

The duo were supposed to take to the court today, but the rain wiped out yesterday's play at the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen's Club, London, meaning their match had to be pushed back.

No player has competed in top-level singles after undergoing the hip resurfacing operation, but American Bob Bryan has returned to the doubles circuit.

However, Murray is not reinventing himself as a doubles player. Queen's, followed by Eastbourne and Wimbledon, are about testing his body, putting miles on the clock and regaining some match sharpness with a view to resuming his singles career before the end of the year.

"My goal is still to get back to playing singles, ultimately," said the 32-year-old Scot. "Maybe six to eight weeks ago I was chatting with my team about the best way to get back onto the court again, singles-wise.

"We felt doubles would be a good option to test myself out and see how I feel, where there is maybe a bit obviously less loading on the body, less movement, but you still have to make some quick moves and have quick reactions.

"It felt like it was actually a nice progression of the rehab I've been doing and getting back onto the court and see how I feel on a match court playing doubles.

"Then that will give me some information about where I'm at and maybe things I need to improve or whatever."

Murray and Lopez face Colombian top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the first round of the Fever-Tree Championships.

However, only a day before Murray's originally scheduled return, Lopez has been named in a police probe amid allegations of match-fixing at Wimbledon, according to reports in Spain.

The reports have named Lopez, 37, and his Spanish doubles partner Marc Lopez, 36, in a wider investigation into corruption in sport.

It is understood Feliciano, unavailable for comment on Tuesday as his scheduled singles match against Marton Fucsovics was rained off, strenuously denies any wrongdoing.

Marc Lopez strongly denied the allegations, saying: "We have nothing to do with it, they have no right to dirty our names like that."

Murray's representatives are also aware of the claims.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer is through to the second round of the Halle Open after a straight-sets win over John Millman.

The Swiss top seed and 20-time Grand Slam champion needed a tie-break to take the first set from the Australian before wrapping up a 7-6 (1) 6-3 victory.

• World No.1 Naomi Osaka came through a tricky test against Greece's Maria Sakkari to reach round two at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, winning 6-1 4-6 6-4.

"I was kind of screaming on the inside during that entire match," Osaka said. "I got lucky a little bit. I knew she was going to be a very difficult opponent."

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