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Britain’s Andy Murray of Britain after the first round match against Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the Fever Tree Championships at Queen’s Club in London, Britain, 19 June 2018. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL



By Richard Pagliario


LONDON—Jitters hit Andy Murray before his Queen’s Club comeback match and stiffness struck him afterward.


Playing his first match in 11 months, Murray felt a rollercoaster of emotion—and inevitable ebbs and flows in his game—in his 2-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 loss to sometime practice partner Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championship.


There were plenty of encouraging signs, too.


The three-time Grand Slam champion broke one of the game’s most volatile servers four times and won 30 of 44 points played on Kyrgios’ serve and moved effectively in his first match since undergoing right hip surgery on January 8th.


Understandably, there were clear signs of rust.


Britain’s Andy Murray of Britain in action against Nick Kyrgios of Australia during their first round match at the Fever Tree Championships at Queen’s Club in London, Britain, 19 June 2018. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

Murray double faulted on the third match point to bow to Kyrgios for the first time in six meetings, lost a bit of sting on his serve as the match progressed and felt fatigue and back stiffness in the final stretches.


“I didn’t know how well anything was going to go, really,” Murray told the media afterward. “I was nervous about that. But, you know, I thought I did okay. I certainly could have done some stuff better, like beginning of the second set I thought my level at times was good; sometimes not so good.


“You know, serve at the end of the match, I didn’t feel like I served particularly well in the third set. But, you know, I did some good stuff, as well. You know, physically I did okay, as well. I didn’t feel amazing well physically, like at the end I was starting to tire a bit, but it was a good test for me for first match in such a long time.”


The 31-year-old Scot said he’ll assess his return after seeing how his body answers the bell tomorrow with the best-of-five set challenge of Wimbledon looming in 13 days.


“If I wake up and I really don’t feel good tomorrow, then that’s obviously not a great sign for, you know, best-of-five set tennis at this stage,” Murray said. “However, if I pull up and feel okay, then that’s a good sign. I mean, at the end of the match, I was certainly tired, but it wasn’t like I was completely off my feet and didn’t feel like I could move anymore and stuff.


“But, you know, potentially if it was a five-setter, that could have been another hour and a half of tennis and, you know, probably would have been difficult for me.”


Depending how he feels, Murray said he could possibly play Eastbourne or an exhibition before SW19.


“I won’t rule anything out just now,” Murray said. “I won’t rule out playing Eastbourne and not playing Wimbledon. I wouldn’t rule out not playing a tournament next week and trying to get matches like in an exhibition tournament, as well, to get ready for Wimbledon.


“I’m not sure yet. I’m really happy that I got on the match court today and played. You know, it was a close decision. I have not been practicing loads at all, you know. I have been hitting for a couple of weeks, and, you know, the beginning was only like 30 minutes or so. I really haven’t played a whole lot of tennis, so I’m happy I got out there and competed and performed, you know, respectably.


“I’ll kind of need to wait and see what happens the next few days and chat with my team about that, because I don’t know exactly what’s best for me just now.”


The two hour, 38-minute match was an hour more than Murray’s standard practice sessions over the past year.


At times during the final set, the 31-year-old Scot clutched at his lower back.


Conceding he was weary in the final stages, Murray hopes muscle memory will return as his comeback continues.


“My back got a bit stiff yeah, in the beginning of the third set, but, I mean, it feels okay just now,” Murray said. “I think that was, again, just a bit of fatigue. I mean, it is amazing how, you know, like it was literally on the sort of the time, I guess it was like an hour 45 minutes, hour 50 minutes in, which is like literally 10, 15 minutes more than what I have been doing in practice and then things obviously, you know, your body is thinking, what’s going on? You know, you should be in the locker room now.


“Hopefully I’m getting through a match like that, like I said, hopefully the body remembers that it needs to be able to do that for a little bit longer.”

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