Former world No.1 Andy Murray has accepted a wild card into the main draw at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne. Murray, who underwent surgery in January for a hip injury that has side-lined him since Wimbledon last year, made his return to competitive tennis at the Fever-Tree Open at The Queen’s Club this week, falling to Nick Kyrgios in three sets.
This will be the first time Murray, who is currently ranked No.156 in the world, has played the ATP 250 grass court event since 2006 when it was staged at Nottingham. He said he was happy to be continuing his comeback at the Nature Valley International.
“I’m looking forward to getting some more time on the grass courts at Eastbourne this week,” said the three-time Grand Slam champion, in a tournament statement.
“I played Davis Cup there in 2006 and I know the courts and facilities there are excellent. It was good to get back to competition at Queen’s this week, and I’m hoping to [build] on that next week at Devonshire Park.”
Nature Valley International Tournament Director Gavin Fletcher said he is delighted that Murray will continue his competitive return in Eastbourne.
“Andy is a great champion and immensely popular with fans both here in Britain and around the world,” said Fletcher. “With two Wimbledon titles to his name his grass court credentials are impeccable and I’m sure the fans will give Andy a warm welcome down here in Eastbourne.“
Three thoughts on Murray’s Come-back
Initial concerns after three-setter off the blocks
After his loss to Kyrgios in the first round of the Fever-Tree Championships, Murray was predictably cautious about his continued comeback, hinting at Eastbourne and (depending on his results) potentially exhibition matches at Hurlingham Club, as he has done so in the past. However he still refused to be drawn as to whether he would be able to deal with best-of-five matches.
It was always going to be crucial how he pulled up in the following days after his match. Practice sets would never replicate the challenges of match-play and it was a strange match of switching momentums to test his form. The best thing was he was on court for over two hours, and it is a huge positive he is contemplating potentially more of the same.
Still a long road back for Murray – but small steps are good
I believe it would not be the worst thing in the world if he did not play Wimbledon and continued his training and build up for the hard-court season when it ultimately moves to the US for the final Slam of the year.
The best news is that the former British and World No. 1 is back on the court, and is looking to continue that momentum, as opposed to having relapsed a little after his first outing. But it will be a long time before we see Murray back to his competitive best. Small steps!
The Nature Valley International takes place between 25-30 June
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