Andy Murray enjoyed a winning return to competitive action as he and Feliciano Lopez sank top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah at Queen’s Club on Thursday.
Former world number one and three-time grand slam winner Murray is making his tentative comeback from what he hopes was career-saving hip surgery in the doubles at the Fever-Tree Championships.
And a bumper Centre Court crowd was treated to some vintage Murray as the five-time Queen’s singles champion and his Spanish partner ran out 7-6 (5) 6-3 winners.
It had only been 143 days since Murray, fearing being forced into retirement, underwent the hip resurfacing surgery, following a series of emotional goodbyes at the Australian Open in January.
Crucially, Murray felt in good shape afterwards, with no pain whatsoever in his hip.
He said: “I learnt quite a bit tonight. I sort of expected to be the worst player on the court, which was probably the case in the first set.
“But then I think I started to play better in the second and started to serve a bit better, see the returns a little bit better and things.
“I have zero discomfort in my hip, like, nothing. And if I had done this last year, you know, I’d be here aching, throbbing, and feel bad the next day.
“So I’ll just keep pushing and see how it goes. But I feel optimistic about the future. I don’t know how long it will take to get to that level, but, you know, hopefully not too long.”
Nick Kyrgios accused officials of “rigging” his first-round match at the Fever-Tree Championships and admonished himself for “playing FIFA until 3am”.
The outspoken Australian, renowned for his on-court outbursts and meltdowns, launched an expletive-ridden rant at umpire Fergus Murphy after missing a set point against Roberto Carballes Baena, claiming the Spaniard had double-faulted.
He said: “Bro you are taking the f****** p*** mate? The ball was this far out, no joke. No joke. What are you doing? It’s so far long. What are you doing?
“Like, what are you actually doing up there? It was this far out. Bro, it’s taking the p***. I refuse to play.”
After Murphy issued a code violation for unsportsmanlike conduct, Kyrgios continued his tirade.
“It couldn’t have been further out. What are you doing? Jesus. Was that not out, the second serve? It’s a joke, man. It’s a serious joke,” he said. “Like, your hat looks ridiculous, also. It’s not even sunny.”
After another point, Kyrgios added: “The ball was this far out on the second serve. I’m going. I’m not going to give 100 per cent when I’ve got linesmen rigging the game, I don’t want to play.
“You wonder why I don’t try half the time. Literally the set had finished, he double-faulted. Why am I playing at 5-5? Absolute joke.”
Having won the first set on a tie-break, Kyrgios was closing in on the match when he hit a poor lob to gift Carballes Baena a point.
“So lazy, do something, so lazy you are,” he muttered to himself. “You were playing FIFA until 3am, what do you expect?”
In the final game Kyrgios, 40-0 down, petulantly began returning from just outside the service line and somehow wrapped up the match 7-6 (4) 6-3.
As if that were not enough, Kyrgios faced a second match due to rain delays earlier in the week, and was beaten in three sets by Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime.
It was a tame affair by comparison, although Kyrgios still managed to collect a code violation after smacking a ball right out of Queen’s Club.
Provided by Press Association Sport
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.