Andy Murray ignored the tumult still rumbling in Belgrade on Tuesday night when he returned to tennis in London after seven months away, and there were glimpses of his old form as he beat Liam Broady 6-2, 6-2, in a charity tournament organised by his brother, Jamie.
Eighteen years after Alex Bogdanovic won the last British domestic title, Murray tested his rehabbed hip over an hour-and-a-half in the Battle of the Brits in the echoing National Tennis Centre in Roehampton.
The three-time slam champion, not long turned 33, told Prime Video during play, “The most important part of the game for me is the movement. It’s not until you get on the match court until you see it. I’m making some mistakes I wouldn’t normally make, but I’m up a set and a break.”
Breathing heavily, Murray inflicted a 14-minute break on Broady towards the end of the second set, then served out for an encouraging win.
He added later, “It was OK. I served pretty well, lot of free points. Didn’t hit the ball that well from the back of the court, but it was all right. It was all right for my first match in seven months.”
There was no escaping the drama evolving in Serbia, where Novak Djokovic had confirmed he and his wife, Jelena, had tested positive for coronavirus towards the end of his doomed Balkans tournament, along with three other players, two trainers and the pregnant wife of his best friend, Viktor Troicki. Djokovic will have another test in five days’ time and will quarantine for 14 days.
Meanwhile Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Troicki, with their friends and partners, face a worrying few days coping with the trauma of testing positive for the virus.
On Wednesday night the troubled world No 1 added to an earlier apology on Instagram: “If you attended [the] Adria Tour or were around any attendees, please get tested and practise social distancing. For those in Belgrade and Zadar [in Croatia], we will be sharing health resources in the immediate future.”
On a warm midsummer’s day indoors in London, with no fans courtside, Jamie Murray was a surprising loser in the opening doubles, alongside Neal Skupski, against Broady and Cameron Norrie. He did not think the rolling Djokovic drama had, “put back tennis”.
After their 3-6, 7-5, 11-9 defeat, the seven-slam doubles champion said: “That was an event that had thousands of fans turning up and we’re playing with no fans. As long as these tournaments are going to the lengths we’re going to put on events, then you’re creating a safe environment. Everyone [in other tournaments] is going to have to get tested, I imagine. So I don’t think it really puts the Tour back, as such. They’ll have totally different rules in place to what’s been going on in Croatia, and wherever else they were playing.”