Andy Murray back on a tennis court as he looks to rebuild his career

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Andy Murray steps back onto a tennis court on Wednesday just 142 days after undergoing a hip operation in a bid to salvage his career.

The two-time Wimbledon champion and former world number one tearfully announced at January’s Australian Open that it may have to be his last tournament, such was the pain his chronic injury was giving him.

Instead, on January 28, Murray went under the knife and had a metal plate inserted into the joint.

The surgery has left him pain free, and on Wednesday he is due back in competitive action alongside Feliciano Lopez in the men’s doubles at Queen’s Club.

No player has competed in top-level singles after undergoing the hip resurfacing operation, but American Bob Bryan has returned to the doubles circuit.

However, Murray is not reinventing himself as a doubles player. Queen’s, followed by Eastbourne and Wimbledon, are about testing his body, putting miles on the clock and regaining some match sharpness with a view to resuming his singles career before the end of the year.

“My goal is still to get back to playing singles, ultimately,” said the 32-year-old Scot.

“Maybe six to eight weeks ago I was chatting with my team about the best way to get back onto the court again, singles-wise.

“We felt doubles would be a good option to test myself out and see how I feel, where there is maybe a bit obviously less loading on the body, less movement, but you still have to make some quick moves and have quick reactions.

“It felt like it was actually a nice progression of the rehab I’ve been doing and getting back onto the court and see how I feel on a match court playing doubles.

“Then that will give me some information about where I’m at and maybe things I need to improve or whatever.”

Murray and Lopez face Colombian top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the first round of the Fever-Tree Championships.

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Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to win 12th French Open title

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Rafael Nadal kept his iron grip on the Coupe des Mousquetaires by beating Dominic Thiem in four sets to win a 12th French Open title.

It was a repeat of last year’s final and, although Thiem managed to win a set this time, he was unable to join Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic as the only men to beat Nadal at Roland Garros, going down 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1.

Nadal now stands on his own as the most successful singles player, male or female, at a single grand slam having moved clear of the 11 titles won by Margaret Court at the Australian Open.

His 18th slam title overall, meanwhile, means for the first time he has closed to within two of his great rival Roger Federer, whose all-time men’s record of 20 titles appears increasingly within reach for either Nadal or Djokovic.

Thiem was trying to do what only Stan Wawrinka has managed by beating Djokovic and Nadal at the same slam, and Wawrinka did not do it back-to-back.

As if he did not have the odds against him enough already, the Austrian was also playing for the fourth day in a row after his epic two-day semi-final win over Djokovic, while Nadal had had a day off either side of a comfortable semi-final win over Roger Federer.

Thiem knows how it feels to beat Nadal on clay, having done so in each of the last four seasons, but only in best-of-three-set matches.

The first seven games were a physical war, both men growling and pummelling the ball back across the net with ever increasing vigour.

Thiem struck first with a break for 3-2, being rewarded for his aggressive play, but Nadal hit straight back and the crunch moment of the set came when he held after an epic seventh game.

Thiem threw everything in his armoury at Nadal, fizzing in backhands and covering every inch of Philippe Chatrier’s clay, but it was not enough.

It was no surprise to see Thiem fail to hold his serve in the next game, and Nadal served out the set to put himself in a position from where he had never lost a match at Roland Garros.

It could have been deflating for his opponent, but Thiem put some extra oomph on his serve, closed in on the baseline and got the easy points he so desperately needed.

Nadal was holding even more comfortably on his serve, dropping just one point in the first five games of the second set.

But in the sixth game, two unexpected unforced errors from Nadal showed that even the best are not immune to nerves.

Thiem read the situation brilliantly, keeping Nadal deep and making him do the work, and he got his reward with a break to take the set.

Just winning a set against Nadal here is a significant achievement, but the job was nowhere near done for Thiem and the mountain he still had to climb quickly became clear.

A poor opening game of the third set from Thiem set the tone, and in no time the 25-year-old was 4-0 down having won just a single point.

He at least got on the board, but it appeared the Austrian had given everything he had and his movement became increasingly laboured.

He roused himself again at the start of the third set but was unable to take break point opportunities in either the first or third games and found himself 3-0 down.

He did superbly to recover from 0-40 to hold serve in the next game, but that turned out to be a last stand as Nadal wrapped up victory after three hours and one minute.

The 33-year-old fell flat on the clay as Thiem’s final shot landed just beyond the baseline, the king of Roland Garros once more.

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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Thiem beats Djokovic in five sets to reach French Open final

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Dominic Thiem produced a stunning upset over Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals to end the world number one’s hopes of holding all four grand slam titles.

Djokovic had made repeating the feat, which he achieved with his first title at Roland Garros in 2016, a huge target but Thiem cemented his status as the heir apparent to Rafael Nadal on clay with a dramatic 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5 victory.

A roller-coaster of a fifth set, which included a rain break, saw Thiem miss two match points serving at 5-3 before eventually clinching it on his third chance.

Djokovic was a lot more focused at the restart, with conditions better but still cool and breezy, forcing Thiem to string exceptional shots together just to win points.

The Austrian fourth seed, who had led 3-1 in the third set when play was called off on Friday, will take on Nadal on Sunday in a repeat of last year’s final.

He was comfortably beaten in straight sets 12 months ago but is improving all the time and defeated Nadal on clay for a fourth successive season in Barcelona in April.

The 25-year-old had undoubtedly been in the ascendancy on Friday evening, with Djokovic allowing the windy conditions to get into his head.

The world number one’s haste to leave the court led to speculation he had forced the tournament referee’s hand in cancelling play when it was not actually raining, but officials insisted it was the stormy conditions that prompted the questionable decision.

Djokovic was a lot more focused at the restart, with conditions better but still cool and breezy, forcing Thiem to string exceptional shots together just to win points.

The pressure told as Djokovic retrieved the break, levelling at 4-4, and he threatened another break in the next game. Thiem enjoyed a large slice of luck as, after failing to put away two smashes, his volley dropped dead off the top of the net.

That seemed to swing the momentum and, at 5-6, the magnitude of what was at stake appeared to affect Djokovic.

He did not take kindly to a time violation at 15-15 and bizarrely began rushing to the net, which Thiem finally exploited on his fourth set point.

Djokovic received another warning, this time for unsportsmanlike conduct, and made sure the umpire knew exactly what he thought of the time violation at the change of ends.

A break of serve for 2-1 got Djokovic off on the right foot in the fourth set only for Thiem to break back with an outrageous net cord, the ball spinning up off the tape and over the top seed’s head.

A third straight break gave Djokovic the advantage once more but both men were finding it difficult to hold serve into the wind and the Austrian levelled again at 4-4.

Thiem was a game away at 5-4 but showed a chink of fallibility at just the wrong time, double-faulting to give away a break, which allowed Djokovic to serve out the set.

The momentum seemed to be with the Serbian but Thiem did well to grind out a hold for 2-1 and got his reward with a break in the next game as Djokovic, who was still strangely choosing to come to the net a lot of the time, netted a volley.

The top seed was on the ropes having just saved a break point at 1-4 when a sudden, sharp shower came to his rescue.

After a delay of an hour – meaning a knock-on delay for the women’s final – the players returned, and Djokovic looked like he had repaired the damage, saving a second break point and then getting back on serve at 3-4.

But the edginess that had been evident throughout returned in an awful service game from the top seed, giving Thiem the chance to serve for the match.

The Austrian looked like he had it at 40-15 only to play four dreadful points, allowing victory to slip from his grasp.

Djokovic levelled at 5-5 but serving into the wind he once again faltered and a netted forehand brought up a third match point, which Thiem took with a forehand winner.

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