ANDY Murray is hoping his absence from the French Open could prove to be a blessing in disguise ahead of Wimbledon as he looks to make a winning return at Queen’s Club next week.
The world No 2 was forced to miss Roland Garros due to a back injury, ending a run of three successive grand slam final appearances. But the reigning US Open and Olympic champion will return to court for the Aegon Championships in west London just a fortnight before Wimbledon begins.
Murray has been training on grass with coach Ivan Lendl and his friend and former British No 1 Tim Henman as he looks to find form straight from the off in search of a third Queen’s Club title.
When asked if sitting out the French Open could turn out to be beneficial, the 26-year-old Scot replied: “I hope so. That’s the sort of attitude you need to take. I know after the French Open last year I took five or six days off and, when I started practising again, I felt really comfortable on the grass straight away and that isn’t normally the case.
“Grass takes time to get used to. I’ve been on the grass for ten days or so and that’s probably a week longer than I would have had if I’d been at the French Open. It’s more than I’ve had the past few years and I’ve been playing better and better each day in practice so, hopefully, it will turn out to be a blessing.”
Winner at Queen’s in 2009 and 2011, Murray was surprisingly beaten in the opening round by Frenchman Nicolas Mahut last year before reaching the final of Wimbledon, where he lost to Roger Federer.
Murray admits he will be short of match practice when he starts his Aegon Championship campaign but he is relishing the prospect of once again playing at one of his favourite venues. “Well I’ll be short of matches,” he said. “I’ve done enough training over the last ten days or so. I actually did a big training block after Monte Carlo so some of that should still be in there too, so it’s just matches that I’ll need.”
Murray will be joined at Queen’s by fellow top-eight players Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro and Jo Wilfried Tsonga in a strong draw which also includes defending champion Marin Cilic and four-time winner Lleyton Hewitt.