Andy Murray is set to make his long-awaited comeback from hip surgery at next month’s Libema Open grass-court event in the Netherlands.
The two-time Wimbledon champion, who has not played a competitive match since exiting SW19 at the quarter-final stage to America’s Sam Querrey last year, will feature at the event, which begins on June 11, according to tournament director Marcel Hunze.
Murray, who turned 31 last week, was scheduled to make his comeback at the start of 2018 but suffered a setback over his lingering hip issue and was forced to undergo the knife in Melbourne back in January.
In March, the former World No1 posted several pictures of him training at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy on the French Riviera and looked to be on his way back to full fitness as he decided to skip the clay-court season completely.
However, rumours started to circulate recently that the Scot had suffered yet another setback as he was not seen practicing at his regular Wimbledon training base upon his return to the UK.
There were also reports he may turn out in a Challenger Tour event at Loughborough, though he did not apply for a wildcard.
But now it seems Murray is back on track and will compete in June.
Libema Open chief Hunze told BBC Scotland: “After consulting his team, we don’t have any reason to doubt his participation.”
“Andy is on the entry list. We are looking forward to welcoming Andy here for his comeback on the ATP tour.”
Murray is currently ranked No45 in the world and now the British No2, with Kyle Edmund up to 17 in the world standings.
Should the one-time US Open champion come through next month’s tune-up on grass, he is scheduled to play at Queen’s as normal between June 18 and 24.
Wimbledon gets under way on July 2.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Murray publically backed a new tennis app designed to make it easier and more affordable for people to take up the game.
The app, called Deuce and due to launch just before Wimbledon, aims to match players of all ages and abilities with sessions or courts at clubs or parks close to where they live.
Murray has always been a staunch advocate of finding new and creative ways to inspire future generations of British children to get involved in the sport.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has hit out at the BBC after discovering that fellow Wimbledon pundit John McEnroe is paid at least 10 times more than her.
McEnroe’s pay packet, of £150,000 to £199,999, was revealed in a list of the BBC’s top-paid talent last summer.
Navratilova, 61, told Panorama that she is paid around £15,000 by the BBC for her commentator role at Wimbledon.
“It was a shock because John McEnroe makes at least £150,000… I get about £15,000 for Wimbledon and unless John McEnroe’s doing a whole bunch of stuff outside of Wimbledon he’s getting at least 10 times as much money”, she said.
Navratilova said that she was told she was getting paid a comparable amount to men doing the same job as her, adding: “We were not told the truth, that’s for sure….
“(I’m) not happy… It’s shocking… It’s still the good old boys network…. The bottom line is that male voices are valued more than women’s voices.”
Navratilova, who was crowned Wimbledon ladies’ champion nine times, said that her agent will ask for more money in future.
BBC Sport told Panorama that “John and Martina perform different roles in the team, and John’s role is of a different scale, scope and time commitment,” adding: “They are simply not comparable. John’s pay reflects all of this, gender isn’t a factor.”
Panorama said it estimated that McEnroe, 59, who was crowned Wimbledon champion three times, appeared around 30 times for the BBC at Wimbledon last year, compared to Navratilova’s 10 appearances.
Meanwhile, former China editor Carrie Gracie, who resigned from her role in protest at inequalities and now works for the BBC in London, said she could leave the corporation.
“I haven’t made a sacrifice… I may still have to leave the BBC,” she said.
And former BBC news presenter Maxine Mawhinney said she is considering bringing a case against the broadcaster over pay.
She had just left the BBC after 20 years when the pay list was published last summer.
She told Panorama: “I do know that I have sat beside men on TV doing the same job, probably (with) the same experience or I might have been even more experienced, and I know they were earning more than me.”
Asked if she would take a case against the BBC over equal pay, she said: “If I find that I was entitled to have been paid at a different rate during the time I was there of course I would.”
Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s director of news and current affairs, told Panorama: “We don’t think we have acted illegally in regard to equal pay.
“That doesn’t mean, however, there won’t be instances and cases where there is inequality and we need to address those.”
The gender pay gap has been in the headlines since the salaries of top BBC talent were revealed.
Radio 2’s Chris Evans topped the list on more than £2 million, while the highest paid woman was Claudia Winkleman on between £450,000 and £499,999.
A review commissioned by the BBC found a 6.8% gender pay gap – but “no evidence of gender bias in pay decision-making”.
Its conclusions were criticised by BBC Women, a group that includes presenters such as Jane Garvey, Mishal Husain and Victoria Derbyshire.
Conservative MP Damian Collins told Panorama that talent salaries paid through BBC Studios – the BBC’s commercial arm which operates under different rules – should not be kept under wraps.
“I think the way to resolve it is to make those salaries public – be they being paid directly by the BBC or through a production company.
“If the BBC refuse to do that and they can… because the charter doesn’t require them, I think we should ask the National Audit Office to go in and to audit this and to report back to Parliament,” he said.
Unsworth rejected the idea saying: “The BBC is in a big fight here for the best ideas, the best talent. If we’re going to really make it difficult for the independents to come and work for the BBC, by subjecting all the people who work on it to the same level of scrutiny that our existing stars are, then I don’t think that we’re going to be producing the best programmes.”
It recently emerged Claire Foy earned less than Matt Smith for Netflix drama The Crown, despite Foy starring as the Queen.
Panorama: Britain’s Equal Pay Scandal, airs today at 7.30pm on BBC1.
Provided by Press Association Sport
Yes, that’s right – a tennis match lasted that long.
Back in the first round of Wimbledon in 2010, big-server John Isner overcome gutsy baseliner Nicolas Mahut in a five-set thriller, with the decider stretching to an incredible 70-68 scoreline.
The match began on the famous Court 18 on Tuesday June 22 at 6:13pm, but due to fading light, play was suspended at two sets apiece before the start of the fifth at 9.07pm.
The following day, play resumed, at 2:05pm – with the record for the longest match being broken a few hours later at 5:45pm. Yet, still, the American-France duel couldn’t be settled as play was called off once again due to the ailing sun, at 9:09pm, with the final set tied at 59 games all.
That meant the drama extended to Thursday, June 24, at 3:40pm – with Isner finally breaking serve and then holding to win at 4:47pm (11 hours, five minutes).
Incredibly, the final set lasted eight hours, eleven minutes, while numerous other records were broken, such as a record 183 games being played in total and each player rattling down over a 100 aces.
It went down in the history books as the “eventual match”, with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club commemorating the encounter with a plaque beside the court.
Octo Finissimo Automatic A Third World Record for Bulgari
Bulgari is once again the spotlight, proudly presenting its third successive world record.
The Octo Finissimo Automatic is the slimmest ultra-thin self-winding watch on the market to date.
After introducing its Tourbillon in 2014 and the Minute Repeater in 2016, the Maison unveils its new creation featuring a total thickness of just 5.15mm, while its self-winding movement is just 2.23mm thick for a 40mm diameter.
The iconic Octo is once again pushing the boundaries of watchmaking feasibility.