What will Andy Murray’s ranking be by the time he returns to Wimbledon?

Andy Murray forehand

Andy Murray has hit the comeback trail once again and this time he is hoping it is for real.

After aborted attempts to play at last year’s US Open and January’s Australian Open, three-time Grand Slam winner Murray opted for hip surgery in a bid to overcome his long-standing injury problem and he has made it back onto the practice courts quicker than many observers expected.

The 30-year-old has been hitting balls at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Nice in recent days and giving positive updates on his progress on his social media channels. A possible comeback at the new Lawn Tennis Association Challenger event in Loughborough on May 19th has been suggested.

He has already committed to playing grass court events in Holland and at London’s Queen’s Club in June, yet his ranking will have plummeted by the time he arrives at Wimbledon in the first week of July, targeting what appears to be an improbable third title at the All England Club.

He has already slipped to No 30 in the rankings and has been usurped as British No 1 by Kyle Edmund, but his ranking will reach new lows by the time he sets foot on the grass courts this summer.

Murray has not played since his Wimbledon quarter-final defeat against Sam Querrey last July and as he will play no part in the upcoming clay court season, he will not be able to defend the 90 points he collected from a run to the third round of last year’s Monte Carlo Masters, the 180 points he picked up from the Barcelona Open semi-finals or the 100 ATP ranking points from his disappointing performances at the Madrid Open and the Italian Masters event in Rome.

Significantly, his current ranking total will then be depleted by a further 720 points as his run to last year’s French Open semi-final drops off his record, meaning his ranking will contain just the 360 ATP points he collected from his run to the last eight at Wimbledon a year ago.

Murray could boost that total if he makes progress in the Libéma Open he has committed to in Holland and if he progresses at the grass court event at Queen’s Club in London, but on the current ranking list he could head to Wimbledon with an ATP ranking of around 150.

If that was the case, the 2016 Wimbledon champion would be relying on a wildcard to play at the showpiece tennis tournament of the summer, with the Scot certain to be afforded that offer from the All England Club if required.

The former world No 1 has stated that his tennis comeback will not be focused around an attempt to rebuild his ATP ranking, as he told Sky Sports that his targets will focus on winning major titles.

“When I was fit and healthy you think about winning all the major events, getting to number one and winning every competition you’re in, that’s what really drives you,” said Murray.

“When you are out of the game for a long time, the goals change and I remember now how much I just love playing tennis.

“It isn’t about winning every match that I play in the future or winning more Slams, I just want to get back to playing tennis. I want to be fit and healthy again and that’s what’s driving me just now, that’s my goal, and I’m hoping that I get back to that.”

Follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @RealKevinPalmer