London (AFP) – Andy Murray insists 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 2019 at the US and French Opens in the next few months.
The Scot had career-saving hip surgery in 2019, before his latest long-term injury layoff due to a pelvic injury.
Murray showed plenty of signs of rustiness, but was still too good for world number 211 Liam Broady to win 6-2, 6-2 at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.
“Rightfully so,” said Murray 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 practising that much, I have not been doing that well in practice matches, it was alright.”
Next up, Murray faces British number two Kyle Edmund on Wednesday.
“I’d be surprised if I manage to come through that one,” added Murray.
The six-day Battle of the Brits event started on the same day Novak Djokovic tested positive for the coronavirus following a lack of social distancing from the Serb and several of his fellow competitors in his recent tournament.
World number one Djokovic apologised and admitted he was wrong to organise the Adria Tour events in Serbia and Croatia after he, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki contracted the virus.
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 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, while the players did not change ends.
Asked when he last had to collect his own balls, Murray said: “Probably when I was 16 or 17. Jesus, that’s like 16, 17 years ago!
“We do that in practice all the time, it’s just sometimes between first and second serves it’s a longer break than usual.”