Andy Murray announced that he will play the newly named Libéma Open (formerly Ricoh Open at ‘s-Hertogenbosch) in his first competitive tour appearance since limping out of Wimbledon in the quarter-finals.
In a statement on the tournament website, Murray said: “I am looking forward to getting back on the grass and to play Rosmalen for the first time. I’ve heard lots of good things about the tournament and the courts are meant to be very good – it’s the perfect way for me to prepare for Wimbledon.”
However, with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) introducing two new $100k ATP Challenger tournaments in April and May, we might see Murray in action a little sooner. The tournaments in Glasgow (28 April to 6 May) and Loughborough (19-27 May) are on indoor hard courts and will be held during the European clay court season.
Murray also has a career-long contract to continue his Wimbledon warm-up at Queen’s Club which is the week following the Libéma Open, and there is also an ATP Challenger tournament in Surbiton the week before the Netherlands tournament.
Murray on the Mend – Progress
Are we right to be cautiously optimistic? Murray only recently returned to the courts, choosing Patrick Mouratoglou’s Tennis Academy in Nice, France.
As the announcement was made about his commitment to his first tournament in just under a year, Murray took part in a 30-minute Facebook Live broadcast where he did a hand-cast and signing in concrete before spending time hitting with some very excited students.
He told the Academy web-site: “I had no idea so many people were coming (laughs). I feel good. I’m happy to be here training again — I missed playing. I’ve not been fit for a long time, so I’m happy to be playing again”
Although some may feel concerned that he is only returning to the court now, some eight months since his last tour appearance, there are now a number of options Murray can look at for his comeback.
April/May – ATP Challenger Glasgow – would be amazing for his home crowd to have a chance to see him. Any time Davis Cup ties have been held in Glasgow they have literally lifted of the roof, and given how moved he was by his warm reception in Nice, this would be the perfect tonic for him, but it does feel a little soon.
May – ATP Challenger, Loughborough – Just before Roland Garros really gets underway, he could try himself out in Loughborough. That would allow then a couple of weeks to get his grass-court legs and adjust to the change in surface, while for everyone else the changeover between the clay and the dirt can be brutal.
June – ATP Challenger, Surbiton – This may be the most feasible of the Challenger Tour events to aim for. Living now as he does in Surrey, the distance is not far, and will get him out on the grass ahead of his main tour comeback. It would be an advantage to have match-play under his belt before his tour comeback, and indeed before the main event at Wimbledon.
June – ATP Rosmalen/’s-Hertogenbosch – whichever name you opt for (and let’s face it Rosmalen or Den Bosch is far easier that this scrabble-score of a word!) is his first committed tournament back, and again he will face a warm welcome.
June – ATP Queen’s Club – Long established by many former winners of Wimbledon as the best warm-up grass court event, any match practice he can get ahead of a tournament he has won a record five times. It is possibly a little steep to expect an unprecedented sixth title here.
July – The Championships, Wimbledon. In all probability Murray will have a couple of solid weeks of tournament match play ahead of this, but there are a number of additional options that could see him build that platform ahead of the culmination of the grass-court swing.
The Libéma Open will take place between 11-17 June.
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