Andy Murray is a champion again. The man who thought his career might be over just six months ago is now the doubles champion of the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club. And now he is looking at the possibility of his return to singles.
He and Feliciano Lopez beat Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 7-6, 5-7, 10-5, a victory that Murray had no idea was possible at the start of the week. But four doubles matches, absolutely no pain in his hip and a new trophy later, the Scot is thinking about the American hard court season and, possibly, the US Open. As a singles player. There are many, many caveats but it could happen.
“If I keep progressing, I would like to try to play singles,” Murray said. “I think I have a couple of options, like, after Wimbledon, either I continue with doubles but start training and practising singles through the US Open swing, and then try and maybe play singles after that. Or I take a longer break post-Wimbledon of maybe, let’s say, a month or six weeks to get myself ready for singles and then try and play close to the US Open time.
“But I’m just quite happy doing what I’m doing just now and just taking each week as it comes. If things keep going well, I’ll try and play singles.”
What was most obvious, though, was the sheer enjoyment Murray had got from his week at Queen’s. He was relaxed and smiling as he spoke to the press, he was committed and competitive on court but the result was not a life or death issue. The fact that he can play again makes him happy and he is prepared to take his time over what happens next.
“I’m going to go at my own pace and hopefully I keep progressing,” he said. “But I’m sure at some stage it will come, a bit of a plateau, because it’s been very quick and constant improvements just now, but I still have to improve quite a few things, like, physically.
“It’s not just to get back on the court playing singles, it’s to protect my hip for the longer term. It’s not just about this week or next week. I want it to last for a long time, because it’s nice feeling like this.”
Murray was indebted to Lopez, who had won the Queen’s singles title less than an hour earlier.
In the final, against Gilles Simon of France, Lopez let a second-set tie-break slip at 4-2 up to take it to a decider, and almost inevitably another tie-break. Lopez came out triumphant after another two hours and 49 minutes. At 37, he is the oldest player to win the singles title at Queen’s.