Tennis-Murray says question marks remain over fitness ahead of return

Tennis - ATP 500 - Queen's Club Championships - Queen's Club, London, Britain - June 14, 2021 Britain's Andy Murray during practice Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

LONDON (Reuters) - Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray admits there are question marks about whether his body will hold up as he prepares to return to competitive action at Queen's Club.

Murray has struggled to return to his former level since having hip resurfacing surgery in January 2019 with niggling injuries limiting his tournament time.

He missed this year's Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 and has not played a match since March but is back for the grasscourt swing leading into Wimbledon.

"I feel okay. I don't feel perfect, but I have been practising well over the last month or so, pretty consistently," the 34-year-old Scot told reporters on Monday.

"I have been training at Wimbledon, and we came out here the last few days and had a couple of good practices.

"The question mark is obviously whether the body holds up and I can't say with any great certainty right now whether that's going to happen or not."

Murray will face Benoit Paire in his first match at Queen's on Tuesday and while he has won the title five times at the traditional pre-Wimbledon event, he is not setting high expectations, rather just hoping to be able to compete.

"If my goal is to get to number one in the world or to win majors, if that's the only reason why I would continue playing

tennis, which it isn't, I would have stopped three, four years ago," Murray said.

"The reason why I'm still playing is because I love playing tennis. I want to keep trying and still have the desire to go out there and compete and to train every day to try and improve and give myself a chance to keep going.

"Create more memories on the court and get more wins."

Asked what his expectations for Wimbledon are, the former world number one said the priority is that he stays healthy.

"Judging by what you can see on social media, a lot of people don't think that I can play and compete at this level anymore," he said. "I don't know what the expectations should be.

"I don't want to promise anything in terms of that respect, because I don't even know myself exactly. Let's wait and see what happens, but my goal and priority is to be healthy."

(This story corrects typographical error in the first paragraph)

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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