Novak Djokovic used as example to offer Andy Murray hope in singles comeback | Tennis | Sport

Murray made his long-awaited return to competitive singles action on Monday night at the Cincinnati Masters.

The 32-year-old had previously competed in a number of tournaments in both men’s and mixed doubles, even winning Queen’s alongside Feliciano Lopez, in a bid to improve his fitness for singles action.

And that all came together on Monday when he battled against old foe Richard Gasquet in Cincinnati earlier this week.

The Frenchman took advantage of Murray’s lack of fitness on a singles court with some vicious drop shots, moving his opponent all over the court.

Murray gave a good account of himself with some positives to take forward, but ultimately Gasquet proved too much.

The Scotsman has decided against registering for the US Open, instead targeting a return to Grand Slam singles tennis at the Australian Open next year.

He has attempted to downplay expectations on what he could achieve while still trying to find his feet in singles action.

Djokovic similarly returned from a lengthy injury lay-off recently and has since gone from strength to strength.

And Petchey believes Murray could use that as inspiration to return to his best.

“There was way more encouraging signs for Andy than there were negatives and the big question now is whether that hip will allow Andy to play his natural game or whether he will have to be more aggressive and try to keep points as short as possible,” he told Tennis365.

“Those are the questions that will get asked of him as he goes down this journey of recovery, but he could be pleased with what he did against Gasquet.

“Yes, he was disappointed as he was at the end because he will always be a great competitor, we could still see some great signs for him.

“His best tennis may be months away, but it is coming.

“Let’s not forget how long it takes for top sportsmen to come back after a big injury and they don’t come much bigger for a tennis player than what Andy has had with his hip.

“It took Novak Djokovic six months to come back from his elbow problem and start playing at his best, John McEnroe took nine months away from the game and never really made it back to the top after that.

“It will take time for Murray to get there, but the first signs are good.”

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