Andy Murray takes wildcard for Nature Valley International in Eastbourne

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Signed up: Andy Murray

Andy Murray will continue his comeback in Eastbourne next week after asking for a wild card into the Nature Valley International.

The three-time grand slam champion made his return from nearly a year out with hip problems at Queen’s Club on Tuesday, losing narrowly to Nick Kyrgios in an encouraging performance.

Murray  was waiting to see how he pulled up after the match before deciding where his next action would be, with exhibition contests at the Aspall Tennis Classic at the Hurlingham Club another option.

But the 31-year-old has decided to commit to another tournament and, with the field weaker at Eastbourne than Queen’s, Murray  should have a decent chance of a first victory of his comeback.

The Scot said: “I’m looking forward to getting some more time on the grass courts at Eastbourne this week.

“I played Davis Cup there in 2006 and I know the courts and facilities there are excellent. It was good to get back to competition at Queen’s this week, and I’m hoping to build on that next week at Devonshire Park.”

Murray , currently ranked 156, has not played a tournament in the week before Wimbledon since 2006, when the event was held in Nottingham.

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman is the top-ranked entrant with Kyle Edmund set to be seeded second.

The news will boost hopes that Murray  will be able to compete at Wimbledon. The two-time champion was unsure following the defeat by Kyrgios whether best-of-five-sets tennis was the right thing for his body at this stage of his comeback.

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Simona Halep withdraws from Nature Valley International

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French Open champion Simona Halep has withdrawn from next week’s Nature Valley International in Eastbourne because of an Achilles problem.

The world number one won an emotional first grand slam title at Roland Garros earlier this month but will go into Wimbledon without an official match on grass.

Halep wrote on Twitter: “I’m very sorry to announce that I’m withdrawing from next week’s Nature Valley International.

“I was experiencing Achilles tendon pain and inflammation during the French Open and it has yet to fully recover. I’ve been advised by my doctors that it needs more rest while continuing treatment. I loved competing at Eastbourne last year and hope to see you at this wonderful event next year.”

Halep’s withdrawal leaves four top-10 players in the field, including last year’s champion Karolina Pliskova and runner-up Caroline Wozniacki.

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Andy Murray feels 'decent' after making return but won't rule out missing Wimbledon

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Andy Murray made his return after missing 11 months.

Andy Murray said he was feeling “decent” after finally making his comeback following 11 months on the sidelines, but has not ruled out missing Wimbledon.

The three-time grand slam champion played his first competitive match since SW19 last year – 342 days ago – and put in a spirited display in going down to a three-set defeat to Nick Kyrgios at the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club.

Murray, who went under the knife on his hip problem in January, battled hard throughout before eventually going down to a 6-2, 6-7 (4/7), 5-7 loss.

He will see how it fully recovers before deciding when to play next, but said it is not a given he will be at Wimbledon next month.

“I won’t rule anything out just now,” he 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. You know, it was a close decision.

“I have not been practising loads at all. I have been hitting for a couple of weeks and 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 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.”

Murray did not appear to be troubled by any hip pain during the gruelling two-hour, 39-minute match, though knows the true test will be when he wakes up in the morning.

“I’m a bit stiff just now,” he said. “I’ve got kind of normal stuff that you would get after maybe playing on a grass court for the first time in a while.

“At the most, longest I have practised in the last year has been an hour and a half. So I was on the court for significantly longer than that in a more intense environment.

“So I’m feeling decent, considering that.

“But hopefully I’m not too sore in the hip after a match like today, and I also physically will have gained a lot from it as well.”

Kyrgios, ironically, was battling his own hip problem but was able to come through after looking like he was going to be blown away.

Murray won the first set 6-2 after the Australian went rogue, losing four games in a row, which included a service game with four double faults.

The pair are good friends off court and Kyrgios admitted he felt awkward.

“It was strange because on big points, when I won them, I almost felt bad if I showed any emotion,” he said.

“Like I didn’t really want to get into his grill at all.

“But other guys, if I’m up 30, like 30-all or have a match point, I’m probably going to be a bit psyched up.

“It was kind of good to see him back out there, but it was a very awkward match for me because I was thinking the guy hadn’t played a match in a year, and I was getting smoked in the first set.

“I was like, ‘This is not going to be a good look if I lose this match’.”

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