It’s the news tennis fans waited for. Former world number one Andy Murray says he will play Wimbledon next week. Well, almost certainly.
Murray will face France’s Benoit Paire in the first round of Wimbledon - injury permitting.
His fitness was still in question but he seemed relaxed at the prospect.
“I feel alright, not much different to how I felt two days ago really,” he said yesterday, “I’ll chat to my team this afternoon and also see a bit how the next two days go. I’m playing sets and stuff, and then, yeah, but most likely yeah, I’ll play.
“I can’t predict how I’m going to feel in two days. But if I feel like I do today in a couple of days, I’ll be playing.”
Two-time Wimbledon champion Murray will face the world number 48 in the first round in a repeat of last year’s fourth-round encounter where Murray won in straight sets.
Murray steps up in his comeback after long-term hip trouble hoping for victory over Paire, after beating the 29-year-old twice in their last two meetings on the court.
He had surgery on his right hip in January, only returning to action on June 18, facing Nick Kyrgios at Queen’s.
The 31-year-old overcame Stan Wawrinka at Eastbourne on Monday, only to lose in straight sets to fellow Brit Kyle Edmund in the second round.
He refused to commit to Wimbledon, saying he wouldn’t be bounced into a snap decision after his first game in 350 days, but clearly has the hunger. Even at such a late stage he can pull out anytime before the match, scheduled for Tuesday, but it would be a boon for his sponsors if he played.
His reward for victory over Paire would be a likely second round meeting with Denis Shapovalov, while Juan Martin Del Potro could prove a testing third-round clash. Current British number one Edmund will face Australia’s Alex Bolt in next week’s first round.
World number 18 Edmund could be in for a daunting third-round tie however, with 12-time major champion Novak Djokovic lying in wait.
Johanna Konta will face Russia’s Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the first round of the women’s championships.
Konta will meet the 21-year-old from Volgograd when she kick-starts her SW19 quest next week. British star Naomi Broady will enjoy a Centre Court showing scheduled for Tuesday, when meeting defending champion Garbine Muguruza in first round action.
And fellow Briton Gabriella Taylor will take on Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard.
British star Cameron Norrie faces an intriguing first-round tie against Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene, who has previously represented Britain.
Liam Broady will take on the Canadian world number 32 Milos Raonic.
Defending champion Roger Federer will face Dusan Lajovic, while Rafael Nadal will take on Israel’s Dudi Sela.
But with a week of searing heat and longer matches in prospect, all eyes will be on whether or not Murray judges himself fit enough to pull on the whites.