Murray makes encouraging return but loses to Kyrgios

  • Posted: Jun 19, 2018
2018 Fever-Tree Championships on the BBC
Venue: Queen’s Club, London Dates: 18-24 June
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, the BBC Sport website and app.

Andy Murray’s comeback after almost a year out with a hip injury ended in a narrow defeat by Nick Kyrgios at Queen’s.

The 31-year-old Briton lost 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 5-7 against the Australian world number 21.

Murray was playing his first competitive match since losing at Wimbledon last year.

He tested Kyrgios in an encouraging performance, saving two match points before losing.

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Former world number one Murray insisted he was not focusing on winning against 23-year-old Kyrgios, but was solely interested in the way his body would cope with the rigours of playing an ATP tour match.

Yet he looked on course for a win that few gave him hope of achieving after so long out of the game.

True, Kyrgios – a mercurial and unpredictable player – was not fully focused in an erratic first set, eventually switching on mentally to fight back against his good friend and win in two hours and 39 minutes.

Neither Kyrgios’ display, nor the result, should take anything away from Murray’s performance.

Although there were periods where Murray looked understandably rusty, all the facets of the three-time Grand Slam champion’s game – accurate serving, shot-making, dogged defence, court coverage and will-to-win – were seen at times in front of a packed home crowd in London.

Understandably, he faded in the decider – his shot selection letting him down in the final game as a double fault allowed Kyrgios to take his third match point.

“It was great to see him back and see him healthy,” said Kyrgios, who beat Murray for the first time at the sixth attempt.

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Murray proves he is fit enough to compete

Murray’s road back to the court has been a long one – 342 days to be precise – and one which he admits left him “very concerned” about his recovery.

Limping heavily at Wimbledon last year, it was remarkable he managed to reach the last eight before losing in five sets against American Sam Querrey – the last time we saw him on a match court until his return at Queen’s on Tuesday.

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“I was in a bad place,” he said this week. “I could barely walk.”

Rest and recuperation was tried in a bid to manage the problem before he decided to have surgery in January.

The Scot says he is not pain-free and does not expect his hip to be perfect.

Despite that, he believes he can still be more competitive than he was a year ago – and so it proved against Kyrgios.

He showed few signs of restricted or troubled movement against Kyrgios, scampering regularly across the baseline and sprinting forwards to the net.

However, there were worrying signs at the start of the third – Murray holding his lower back and then starting to limp heavily.

Still he dug deep, showing he has not lost any of his fighting spirit, nor any of his will-to-win, before Kyrgios came through to win.

‘Extraordinary performance’ – analysis

Former Great Britain Davis Cup captain John Lloyd on BBC Two: “The expectations are going to rise on Andy Murray after this performance. He still has a bit of work to do but for a first match back it was remarkable.

“The first set looked like a normal first set. He made a few errors and in the third he played well. It was an extraordinary performance considering he has been out for nearly a year.”

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