The elder Murray will kick off his event with the first doubles match, with his regular partner Neal Skupski. The pair formed last season, staring during the grass court season, and improving to a run to the Cincinnati Masters semi-finals and reaching a first Slam semi-finals as a pairing at the US Open, in 2019, with the pair helping Great Britain to the semi-finals of the Davis Cup finals at the end of the year.
Although both Broady and Norrie have taken spins around the doubles court, this is a scratch pairing for this tournament.
Match Two – Kyle Edmund v James Ward | Ward leads H2H 1-0 (Challenger level)
It has been seven years since the pair met at the Sarasota Challenger with the then more experienced Ward getting the measure of Edmund, but since then, while Ward has struggled with injuries, Edmund has enjoyed a steady rise up the rankings, currently just instead the Top 50, with a career high of World No. 14.
Edmund added to his title tally early this year, winning in New York, while Ward started the year with a run to the Rennes Challenger prior to lockdown.
Prediction: Edmund in straight sets.
Match Three – Dan Evans v Jay Clarke | First meeting
The current British No. 1 Evans will take on Clarke for the first time in their careers. Evans closed out the pre-lockdown period with a run to the semi-final of Dubai after a pretty consistent start to the year, and few could forget his emotional first win at the revamped Davis Cup Finals where it felt that the crown of the Top Brit was weighing heavy on the Brummie’s head.
He will take on Clarke who, outside of Australian Open Qualies, has been on the Challenger tour for 2020, reaching the Burnie semi-final before everything shut down
Evans’ talent had never been in dispute but his harder work over the last couple of years has paid off for him, as he comes in on paper at least as a favourite. It should be a decent test for Clarke to see where his game is at, but Evans should be expected to sail through.
Prediction: Evans in straight sets
Match Four – Andy Murray v Liam Broady | Murray leads H2H 1-0
It seems like a long time ago that Murray dispatched Broady in the first round on the way to a second Wimbledon title in 2016 and while Murray, named in the draw as the ‘One Hip Wonder’ has been playing down his chances of being regarded as a favourite for the tournament, this will be one of the most eagerly awaited matches.
Murray will take to the court for the first time since his sole match at the Davis Cup Finals, where he bruised his pelvic bone, and all his plans for a return in 2020 at Miami was obviously curtailed as the coronavirus pandemic shut down sport, both global and domestic.
Speaking to the press ahead of the tournament, Liam Broady admitted that he was viewing this as a free hit, and if anything, the pressure is on Murray. The former World No. 1 has even been kidding the other players with non-existent injuries just to wind everyone up.
Murray’s competitive juices will come to the fore, but as we saw in Madrid, he can take the long way round sometimes, especially if he is considered at the favourite.
Prediction: Murray in straight sets
Match Five – Jack Draper & Kyle Edmund v Jay Clarke & Dominic Inglot
Edmund and Clarke pull doubles duty to close out the first day, with doubles specialist Dominic Inglot and up-comer Jack Draper getting their first taste of competition. For Inglot, a slow start to the year led to a couple of strong performances in February, reaching the Montpellier final and winning in New York with current partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.
How to Watch Schroders Battle of the Brits
For viewers in UK and Ireland, the match will be shown on Amazon Prime Video
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