ATP Tour

Murray eases through on comeback at Queen's

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Andy Murray (PA/Supplied)
Andy Murray (PA/Supplied)

Andy Murray made a winning return to action on Tuesday, easing into the second round of Queen's with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over France's Benoit Paire.

The five-time former champion took a wild card into the ATP 500 event in London, his first singles tournament since March, but needed just 64 minutes to seal the victory.

Murray did not face a break point in two sets against Paire in his first grass-court singles match since 2018 -- he won the doubles title at Queen's in 2019 with Feliciano Lopez.

The 34-year-old Scot, who has been suffering from a groin injury, had a nervous moment when he went down on all fours early in the match.

However, the former world number one picked himself up and easily dealt with anything thrown at him by Paire.

Murray, who has been dogged by injuries in recent years, admitted afterwards that his groin had given him some discomfort but said it did not affect his performance.

"I love playing tennis," he said, with tears of emotion welling in his eyes during an on-court interview. "Obviously competing is why you put in all the hard work.

"In the last few years I didn't get to do that as much as I would have liked, so it's great that I'm out here and able to compete again.

"The body is old, but I did quite well today in terms of my movement and stuff."

The three-time Grand Slam champion, who has slipped to 124th in the world, said he had been excited about returning to the court.

"There are doubts and stuff before going out there but then after the early games it is less about your body and head and more about the match and trying to win," he said.

"I felt pretty calm on the court as grass is a very natural surface for me and I am comfortable on it."

A far greater test awaits Murray in the second round in the shape of world number nine and top seed Matteo Berrettini.

Berrettini beat compatriot Stefano Travaglia, needing two tie-breaks to prevail.

"It will be a great test for me," said Murray. "Berrettini is a top player and comes here having had a really strong French Open."

Murray said he would be watching France play Germany in Euro 2020 with his rivals, who are all in a coronavirus bubble with him.

"It is something for all of us to do together and enjoy rather than being in your hotel room from six in the evening to nine in the morning," he said.

"But it was not a pleasant day being Scottish yesterday (the Scots lost 2-0 to the Czech Republic)."

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