Andy Murray’s camp is preparing for the prospect that he will walk off court on Tuesday with his 100 per cent record against Nick Kyrgios no longer intact.
The pair have played five times — on grass, clay and hard courts — with Murray dropping just one set to the Australian out of 15.
But three weeks shy of an entire year out from competitive tennis, the former world No1’s team have been quietly trying to dampen the expectation around his form.The fact that he left it until h
And the reality is that were the next two tournaments not on grass in front of his home crowd, then Murray would not be playing.
Murray has never been one to sing from the rafters about either his achievements or chances but, even by his own standards, he was downbeat in his pre-match assessment.
“The expectations are very low right now and I will reassess my goals when I’m back out there competing,” he said.
But there will always be high hopes from the public at this stage of the season, with Murray having won two Wimbledon titles, a record five Queen’s crowns and also an Olympic gold from London 2012 on turf.
Hip specialists had always said it would be a rush to get back in time for the grasscourt season, but Murray and his team are adamant that he will not do undue damage on the joint five months after it was operated on.
The hobble that was such a feature of his last competitive outing at Wimbledon 11 months ago has gone and he has steadily racked up the practice sets against the man who has usurped him as British No1, Kyle Edmund, as well as the No2, Cameron Norrie.
It was the manner in which he came through two sets — winning one, losing the other — against Norrie which finally decided he would line up at Queen’s. By his own admission, Tuesday’s match is a step into the unknown.
Murray said: “I don’t think I’ll know until I get out there. It’s been the toughest period of my career and I’m not playing my best or feeling my best.”
Whether Murray will get back to the top is the big question, but the player admits “it’s not the end of the world” if he does not.
Novak Djokovic has plotted a not dissimilar path of rising to No1 and then his body failing him. He also plays at Queen’s on Tuesday but is in better shape than his rival for the top spot.
“I had a major injury that took me off the court for six months plus,” said the Serbian. “Andy has been absent longer than I have. I really hope to see him back playing in that level that he had played in the past couple of years.”
Murray’s road to Queen’s has been arduous, from his first exercise on a bike 10 days after surgery to up to eight hours of rehab work a day. The first acid test on the comeback trail lies the other side of the net in Kyrgios.
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