Andy Murray said he has low expectations on his latest return from injury despite winning his first match for seven months at the Battle of the Brits tournament on Tuesday.
Murray, 33, is aiming to compete in a Grand Slam for the first time since January last year at the US and French Opens in the next few months.
The Scot had career-saving hip surgery last year, before his latest long-term injury layoff due to a pelvic injury.
Although his play showed plenty of rustiness, Murray was still too good for world No. 211 Liam Broady as he won 6-2, 6-2 at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, England.
“Rightfully so,” Murray said of his low expectations. “I’ve had many injury problems. I’m very slow now, so not expecting much. For a first match in seven months — I have not been practicing that much, I have not been doing that well in practice matches — it was alright.”
Yesterday, Murray was to face British No. 2 Kyle Edmund.
“I’d be surprised if I manage to come through that one,” Murray added.
The six-day Battle of the Brits event started on the same day that Novak Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19.
Murray criticized the world No. 1 for staging the Adria Tour exhibition tournament in Zadar, Croatia, without adopting any disease prevention measures.
Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki also returned positive tests after playing in the Balkan tournament, where players were seen hugging at the net, playing basketball, posing for pictures and partying like they did in pre-COVID-19 days.
Murray said that he hoped the players and their family members who tested positive recovered soon and added that, in hindsight, the tournament should not have gone ahead.
“Obviously it’s not surprising how many players have tested positive when you see the scenes and the images and the videos from the tournament and the players party with no social distancing in place,” Murray said on Tuesday. “I’ve seen some people say this puts the US Open in doubt, but the measures and the protocols they have in place are completely different to what was going on in Serbia and Croatia.”
“For a start, there will be no fans and the players will now know we can all be affected by this,” Murray added. “It doesn’t matter who you are, we need to respect the rules.”
However, the Adria Tour players did not break any government protocols in Serbia or Croatia, as both countries eased lockdown measures weeks before the event.
In Roehampton, social distancing protocols were observed far more strictly.
There were no fans in the arena, while ball boys and girls and line judges were also absent to reduce the number of people on the court.
Players used to being waited on by ball boys and girls had to retrieve their own balls and fetch their own towels.
The umpire was assisted by Hawk Eye cameras instead of line judges.
Asked when he last needed to collect his own balls, Murray said: “Probably when I was 16 or 17... We do that in practice all the time — it’s just sometimes between first and second serves, it’s a longer break than usual.”
Additional reporting by Reuters
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