Andy Murray feels a sense of inevitability that he will face brother Jamie at Queen’s Club next week.
The former world No 1 will step up his bid to return from the hip surgery he underwent in January when he competes in the doubles with Feliciano Lopez at the Fever-Tree Championships.
A few weeks ago the Murray brothers discussed playing together at the tournament, but with Andy’s recovery still in its early stages it was decided that doubles specialist Jamie should find a more reliable partner.
Jamie has instead teamed up with fellow Briton Neal Skupski, while Andy will make his tentative return alongside Spanish veteran Lopez.
“I discussed potentially playing with my brother a month, six weeks ago, but I had barely started hitting balls at that stage,” said Andy Murray.
“We spoke about it and I told him that it was not certain that I will be ready to play and I also don’t particularly want to let him down two minutes before the tournament. I wanted to wait a bit closer to the time before making a decision over whether I was going to play.
“With Feli, I was looking at guys to potentially play with in this tournament and ones I would be able to get in without taking a wild card from one of the other British grasscourt teams. Feli is a very good grasscourt player and someone I have always got on well with on the tour. He plays good doubles, he is a good partner.
“If I play [against] Jamie then I’d definitely be trying to win, of course. It’s bound to end up happening, I’d imagine. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was how the draw came out.”
Murray hopes to play at Eastbourne the following week, possibly with Lopez, but the 32-year-old Scot still needs a partner for Wimbledon.
“I’ve just spoken to a few players who are a bit more relaxed about whether I can play or not,” he added. “So not necessarily doubles specialists, but guys that if I was able to would be up for playing, but likewise if I’m not, they’re fine as well. So we’ll see.”
If all goes to plan three-time grand slam winner Murray hopes to be back in singles action later this year, although he has put no time frame on his return.
Murray has linked up with Amazon Prime Video to create a biennial award which will support young British tennis talent. The Prime Video Future Talent Award will select one male and one female player to receive a total of £60,000 in funding over a two-year cycle. Amazon also announced it had won exclusive rights to show the top women’s tournaments in a four-year deal from 2020.
Meanwhile, two-time defending champion Petra Kvitova has withdrawn from next week’s Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham. The Czech is still recovering from the arm injury that forced her to pull out ahead of the French Open.
Kvitova lifted the trophy in 2017 in just her second tournament back following the horrific knife attack that nearly ended her career, then defeated Magdalena Rybarikova 12 months ago to retain the title.
American Madison Keys has also withdrawn but Karolina Pliskova has taken a wild card.