Fit-again Andy Murray decides to play on clay before making his full return this month


Fit-again Andy Murray decides to play on clay after all and the Scot will fly to Rome to practise before making his full return later this month

  • Andy Murray is set for a comeback to the tour just in time for the busiest period
  • The GB tennis player will hit the practice courts with Novak Djokovic on Sunday
  • He has his sights set on Wimbledon, but will fly to Rome to practice on clay first
  • Murray also plans to tackle the coming months with help from Mark Petchey

Andy Murray is set for a comeback to the tour just in time for the busiest period of the tennis season – and will hit the practice courts with Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

The 33-year-old Scot has his sights set on Wimbledon, but first will fly out to Rome to practice on the clay ahead of a full comeback in the week starting May 17.

Murray also plans to tackle the coming months with some help from former coach and now TV commentator Mark Petchey, who has been on the court with him in London in recent weeks.

Andy Murray is set for a comeback to the tour just in time for the busiest period on the season

Andy Murray is set for a comeback to the tour just in time for the busiest period on the season

The double SW19 champion could be found on Friday hitting on the clay at Roehampton’s National Tennis Centre with British youngster Jack Draper, confounding thoughts that injury issues of the last two months might force him to abandon the clay season.

Murray last played in Rotterdam at the beginning of March and a freak groin strain suffered while sleeping in Miami has kept him out since.

He plans to enter either of the ATP events in Geneva or Lyon the week after next, the former being where Roger Federer is returning. He hopes for a wildcard into the main draw of the French Open at the end of this month, but if not will join the chorus line in the qualifying event at Roland Garros.

The GB tennis player will hit the practice courts with Novak Djokovic (above) on Sunday

The GB tennis player will hit the practice courts with Novak Djokovic (above) on Sunday

Murray also plans to tackle the coming months with help from TV commentator Mark Petchey

Murray also plans to tackle the coming months with help from TV commentator Mark Petchey

‘On Sunday I’ve got a court booked with Diego Schwartzmann and then Novak in the afternoon,’ said Murray, who was able to play full on yesterday against highly promising teenager Draper.

A series of scans showed no serious issues after he returned from Florida, and he was given some local anaesthetic treatment. But the French authorities want to see evidence of his level before giving him a wildcard, which he is relaxed about.

‘They want to see me on the court competing, whether that means I need to win matches I don’t know. I don’t mind if they don’t want to give me a wildcard, that’s fine, they can give them to whoever they want to. It just makes it a bit tricky with planning.’

Petchey, who coached him in his formative years on tour, has been added to his support team to work alongside existing coach Jamie Delgado.

‘Over the last few years my team and I have spent a lot of time together and there have been a lot of difficult moments because of what’s happened with the injuries and uncertainty,’ said Murray. 

The 33 year-old Scot has his sights set on Wimbledon - having won the competition twice

The 33 year-old Scot has his sights set on Wimbledon – having won the competition twice  

But, he will fly out to Rome to practice on the clay ahead of a full comeback around May 17th

But, he will fly out to Rome to practice on the clay ahead of a full comeback around May 17th

‘I felt it would be good to have fresh voice some weeks. I thought he was a very good coach and because of his TV work he is very current with his knowledge. A lot of the younger guys he knows them because he’s commentating on them all the time. We are looking at doing something longer term but nothing has been agreed yet.’

Aside from what happened in Miami he was also forced out of the Australian Open after catching Covid in January, making it a difficult year.

‘It has been extremely frustrating – I never expected that things were going to be easy, when I had the operation on the hip I knew it was going to be unbelievably challenging, it just feels that there are a couple of things that have happened this year which have been very unfortunate that have been hard to take.

Murray says he is looking forward to a summer of tennis and playing at the Olympic Games

Murray says he is looking forward to a summer of tennis and playing at the Olympic Games

‘I’m trying to do something that has not been done before. So I knew there would be challenges but things have come up which have made it even more difficult. I’ve been in the NTC for 6 days a week. I’m a bit bored of doing that now, I want to get out there be around the top players and top tournaments.

‘I’m really looking forward to going away and having a good few months this summer, with Wimbledon and the Olympics. I feel good right now, the last five or six days there has been a definite improvement.’

Murray’s coming schedule is fluid. He could play an additional clay court event in Parma, and if his business in Paris finished quickly he might play in Stuttgart in the grass court event there ahead of the Cinch Championships at Queen’s.

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