Andy Murray’s comeback match from his injury nightmare ends prematurely

Kevin Palmer
Andy Murray will face Andrey Rublev in Indian Wells
Andy Murray celebrates winning at Indian Wells

Andy Murray made a successful return to action after his surprisingly swift return to tennis after his ankle injury, but his comeback match ended prematurely due to a twist in the plot.

Murray celebrated his 37th birthday with victory on his comeback from injury in Bordeaux after his opponent Kyrian Jacquet retired in the second set with Murray leading 7-5 2-0.

Murray was playing his first match since damaging tendons in his left ankle at the Miami Open in March, which put his participation at the French Open, and even Wimbledon, in doubt in what is likely to be his final season.

But the three-time Grand Slam winner recovered quicker than expected and returned to action at the Challenger event to get some clay-court matches under his belt ahead of Roland Garros.

Murray showed no visible discomfort as he secured his first win on clay in more than a year, albeit faster than he might have liked.

It was Murray’s first match using a Yonex racket, as he played his first match without the Head frame he has used throughout his trophy-laden career.

“I have always associated Andy with a Head racket for 20 years,” said British star Liam Broady, speaking on Sky Sports Tennis.

“I guess he is at the stage in his career now where he wants to get every last little advantage he can.

“It’s a huge decision. It’s a completely different racket to the one he uses. The racket he had was a pretty dead one, but that Yonex one is a powerful one. It’s similar to the one Casper Ruud uses.

“If you are going to go for a big racket change, that is pretty much as big as it gets.

READ MORE: Andy Murray to make retirement U-turn? – ‘I don’t think he will stop’

“I know he apparently tried every racket under the sun. He tried (Carlos) Alcaraz’s racket, he threw it into the fence and was like ‘no Carlos, not this racket!’

“He’s going to try everything and see which one works best. I’m interested to see how it goes. Maybe it will add a few percentages to his game. I’m all for it.”

Respected tennis broadcaster Marcus Buckland is also backing Murray to enjoy a final hurrah in his career, as he believes what may be his final comeback from injury could still throw up a few magical moments.

“The romantic in me wants to believe there can be a glorious end to the Murray story,” Buckland told Tennis365 as he prepares to join the Roland Garros and Wimbledon Radio teams, as they prepare to broadcast daily coverage of the next two Grand Slams to a global audience.

“It might not be winning a tournament, but a stirring comeback as he bounces back from two sets down to win.

“Something like that followed by one final wave to his adoring public is what he deserves after giving us all in Britain so much joy down the years.

“He goes into the grass court campaign with no great expectations due to the injuries he has had and that is one factor in his favour, but who knows what could happen. Anything is possible with this guy and he has shown that time and again down the years.

“He could build up a head of steam by winning at Surbiton and maybe Nottingham, as he did last year, get a couple of decent draws on the way to Wimbledon and who knows.

“If he could get through a couple of matches and maybe that one big run he is waiting for could finally come.

“I just want Andy to go out on his own terms. That’s all that matters. If that means winning one match at Wimbledon and saying goodbye when he feels happy that he has given everything he has left, that would be fantastic.

“That fierce determination is driving him on and when you think it is now five years since Mark Petchey did that emotional presentation to Andy on the court in Melbourne in what we thought was his final match, it’s amazing he is still going now.”

British No 2 Dan Evans, also competing in Bordeaux in a bid to find some form after a tough few months, beat Frenchman Hugo Grenier 6-4 6-4.