LONDON • Fears Andy Murray could miss Wimbledon because of concerns that his recovery from hip surgery has stalled sent a shiver of dismay through the game on Tuesday night.
However, a spokesman for Queens, the grass-court tournament that starts on June 18, two weeks before Wimbledon, said its six-time champion is still on the entry list and it has had no indication that he plans to pull out.
"Wimbledon is such a long way off. Nearly two months, in fact, it seems premature to be writing him off," a source close to the Fever-Tree championships at the Queens Club in west London said.
"We certainly have had no news to that effect. He is still on our entry list... We expect to be working with him in promoting the event at some point in the coming weeks."
Reports in several newspapers and on the BBC varied in their level of gloom over Murray's prospects of being ready to return after having an operation on his hip in Melbourne in January.
One suggested that he was "highly unlikely" to play in the new Challenger event in Loughborough, which starts on May 19.
Another said there was "little prospect" of him fulfilling any of his grass-court commitments - including the one tournament he has definitely earmarked for his comeback: the newly branded Libema Open in Rosmalen in the Netherlands, the week after the May 21-June 10 French Open.
The core reason for speculation is Murray has not been sighted lately around Wimbledon, where he often trains before the championships or in periods when he is recuperating.
As it stands, those worries should be tempered with mild optimism. For months, his camp have sent out positive vibes about his rehabilitation, occasionally hinting at "peaks and troughs".
Fellow Briton Johanna Konta has said she hopes Murray will be in action at Wimbledon.
"I still hope he can (come back as planned)," she told reporters after losing 4-6, 3-6 to Bernarda Pera in the second round of the Madrid Open yesterday.
"Obviously he needs to do what's best for the longevity of his career. I can really just feel for him. I can't imagine how sad he must be to be away from the game he loves so much.
"He must be doing everything that he can to come back fitter and stronger. Hopefully he gets better soon."
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS