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Murray slips in doubles but SW19 is on his radar

 

Battling display: Andy Murray goes down to defeat in the men’s doubles at Eastbourne yesterday
Battling display: Andy Murray goes down to defeat in the men’s doubles at Eastbourne yesterday

By Matt Slater

Andy Murray's winning return from injury ended with a first-round doubles defeat in the Nature Valley International at Eastbourne yesterday.

After winning the doubles title at Queen's on Sunday alongside Feliciano Lopez, the former world number one crashed out as he and partner Marcelo Melo lost in straight sets.

Colombian top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah eased to victory on the south coast, running out 6-2 6-3 winners, with Murray seemingly uncomfortable when on serve.

Murray underwent hip surgery in January and there was a suggestion the two-time Wimbledon champion would have to retire. But he has made his comeback, albeit in doubles, and will enter the SW19 showpiece next week with Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

The 32-year-old could yet also take part in the mixed doubles at SW19, but slipping to such a defeat at Eastbourne may affect that decision.

"I spoke to some of the doubles players the last few days about why they don't always play mixed and they just said they had some situations where the weather has not always been so good," he said

"And because doubles is best of five (sets), and you play with the advantage scoring, you can get backed up and end up playing four matches in two days. I just need to be certain that my body's ready for that.

"I'll chat to my team a bit about that and decide probably by the end of tomorrow, I would imagine."

Murray is yet to finalise a potential partner for the mixed, having been turned down by singles world number one Ashleigh Barty and Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic.

He added: "I've spoken to a few of the players the last few days about it, so there's a few kind of lined up and I said I would let them know in the next couple of days."

Farah and Cabal will play British pairing Dan Evans and Lloyd Glasspool in the quarter-finals.

"They just played a lot better than us today. They got off to a quick start and deserved to win," said Murray.

British number three Evans made it 11 wins on grass so far this season by beating higher-ranked Moldovan Radu Albot 7-6 (2) 6-2 and he will play either Herbert or Denis Kudla next.

It was revenge for Evans after he narrowly missed out on winning a first ATP Tour title in Delray Beach in February, losing to Albot in the final after holding three match points.

Cameron Norrie will face fellow Briton Kyle Edmund for the first time after an impressive 6-3 7-6 (4) victory over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the opening round.

The match was suspended overnight with Norrie 3-0 up in the opening set. He went on to take that but the second was much tighter and the British number two had to save a set point at 5-6 before coming through the tie-break.

There was disappointment for Jay Clarke, who won the first set against Juan Ignacio Londero but eventually went down 6-7 (5) 6-1 6-3.

Meanwhile, the Lawn Tennis Association will invest £250million in 96 new indoor centres across the country to make sure almost everyone is within a short drive of a place to play, rain or shine.

The national governing body will focus its investment on areas currently without a good indoor facility and will pay for more than half of a project's costs if needs be.

There are just over 300 indoor centres so this plan, which will be launched at a Westminster event today, is aiming to increase that number by a third within 10 years.

LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said: "The goal is for 95 per cent of the population to have access to an indoor centre within a 30-minute drive."

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