WORLD No2 Andy Murray returns to the court this week after missing the French Open with injury and believes Queens will provide the perfect setting as he steps up preparations for the Wimbledon championships later this month.
The 26-year-old opted to pull out of the Grand Slam at Roland Garros, won by Rafael Nadal, due to a back injury, but has been included in the draw for the Aegon Championships, when the grass court season commences today in west London.
Murray, like all the seeded players, has a bye to the second round but is itching to get back on court after almost a month out of action and improve his fitness before the main focus of his summer begins at SW19.
“The conditions at Queen’s are perfect,” said the two-time winner. “It’s a great setting and the centre court is really good, so it’s perfect preparation.
“It’s matches that I need. Normally, coming from the clay court I’d be match tough, just not used to the surface. Whereas this year I won’t be match tight but at least I’ll have had 10 days on the grass.
“It’s also got a lot of history this tournament, so it’s a nice one to win and do well at and I’ll try and have a good run.”
Murray is the No1 seed at Queens and will meet Nicolas Mahut or Rhyne Williams in round two.
The Scot is joined in the draw by French Open semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, reigning champion Marin Cilic and five Britons, including French Open boys’ doubles winner Kyle Edmund, 18.
“Kyle’s been our best junior for the last couple of years,” added Murray. “He’s played well at some of the futures events, he’s won a couple, so it will be a good test for him to see where he’s at.”
ORDER OF PLAY
Centre Court (from 12:30pm)
■ Guido Pella v Daniel Evans
■ Ivan Dodig v James Ward
■ Lleyton Hewitt v Michael Russell
■ Dudi Sela v Grigor Dimitrov
Court One (from 12:30pm)
■ Aljaz Bedene v Paul-Henri Mathieu
■ Guillermo Garcia-Lopez v Xavier Malisse