Tennis: Big-serving Andy Murray upbeat as he plans for return from long-term injury

Andy Murray is set to return to action at the Washington Open in mid-August. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Andy Murray says he is serving at full throttle again as he bids to rebuild his injury-ravaged career when tennis returns after the coronavirus shutdown.

The three-time Grand Slam champion played his first tournament since last November at the Battle of the Brits event last week.

The ATP and WTA tours are due to return next month, with the US Open starting on Aug 31 and the French Open beginning a month later.

Murray, who is set to return to action at the Washington Open in mid-August, is planning to play both the Grand Slam events.

"Getting the US Open and the French Open played this year is a good thing, I think," the 33-year-old told the BBC.

"It's positive, I just don't like the way the French Open went about scheduling their event.

"But we're going to have to go back to playing at some stage. The most important thing is that the events are safe."

Murray had career-saving hip surgery in 2019, before suffering another setback with a pelvic injury.

The British former world No. 1 was upbeat about his fitness following the Battle of the Brits event, where he reached the semi-finals.

"I am able to serve well again and am able to serve as hard as I was in my mid-20s, which given I didn't know I was going to be able to play again has been really positive," he said.

"Obviously when you are able to serve bigger and harder, it means more shorter points - and that means good news for the body and the hip. The harder I serve, the better it is for my other hip I guess."

The French Open was switched from its traditional May-June slot because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with Sept 20 pencilled in as a start date.

French tennis chiefs were heavily criticised by players and rival tournaments over a lack of consultation.

Now the Paris main draw of the season's final Grand Slam event will begin a week later and finish on Oct 11.

Wimbledon, which was originally scheduled to begin on Monday (June 29), was cancelled in April for the first time since World War II.

But All England Lawn Tennis Club chief executive Richard Lewis, who will step down next month, said the move will have no major financial impact on British tennis.

"It won't be severely impacted. If you have to cancel, it's great to have insurance," he told the British media. "We're still in a very good position, we're financially very stable. British tennis is going to be pretty well protected."

However, the tournament would not have similar insurance cover in place next year, he added. "That's impossible in the current climate," he said.

"When I started in 2012, there were some signs that things were not insurable, because of communicable diseases that had taken place, like Sars and swine flu.

"In the immediate aftermath you can't get insurance but fairly soon after that you can start to get insurance again, the market returns. So there won't be insurance next year.

"But just because we've made one claim, it won't affect us in the long term."

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