Andy Murray ‘feeling fresh’ after brief illness, expects ‘good match’ against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Andy Murray attends a press conference

Andy Murray has recovered from a short illness and is ready to return to action at the Gijon Open where he will take on local hope Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the first round.

The former world No 1 accepted a wildcard entry into the inaugural ATP250 event in north-western Spain and he is re-energised having played very little tennis in recent weeks.

He played two matches at the Laver Cup a fortnight ago with his previous outing before that a third-round defeat at the US Open in early September.

Murray initially expected to play in the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan last week, but withdrew after feeling unwell and the time off has done him well.

“After the US Open and the Laver Cup I have not played much tennis, I have only played two singles matches in the last month, so I feel fresh,” he told the official event’s website.

“Last week I was quite ill and could not play in Astana, but I was able to rest for five days and get here early to get used to the conditions.”

The three-time Grand Slam winner and sixth Davidovich Fokina will meet for the first time on Tuesday and the Scot has been impressed by the 23-year-old Spaniard’s exploits this year.

Davidovich Fokina stunned Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters in April and went on to finish runner-up to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“We’ve trained together on several occasions. He has played very well this year and has achieved some good results, he beat Djokovic in Monte Carlo,” Murray said.

“He has played well at the US Open, where he lost a hard-fought fourth-round match against [Matteo] Berrettini. I think he likes to play on the hard court and it will be a good match.”

Andrey Rublev is the top seed in Gijon with Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta, Roberto Bautista Agut and Albert Ramos Vinolas also in the field.

“There is a high level. Compared to the tournament in Italy this week it seems to me a tougher draw,” Murray added. “Many of the best Spanish players are also here and it is always difficult to play against them at home.”

Dominic Thiem is also in the main draw and the Austrian booked his place in the second round with a solid 6-2, 6-0 win over Joao Sousa on Monday.

He will face either eighth seed Ramos Vinolas or Marcos Giron from the United States in the second round.

The 2021 US Open champion has struggled with injury the past year and has dropped to No 165 in the ATP Rankings, but is on the rise again.

“It was a great match for the first time since ages I had the feeling that the ratio between unforced errors and making the right pace, playing really aggressive, was right,” Thiem said.

“Especially with the forehand, it was really good for basically the first time [since my injury], so I’m very happy about it.

“The way is right, the direction is right, also the way of focus and how I maintain it from the first to the last point was good and I’ll try to keep going that way.”