Murray crowns return by claiming Queen's doubles title with Lopez

Andy Murray completed a remarkable winning return to action with victory in the doubles at Queen's Club alongside Feliciano Lopez.

Murray, who had hip resurfacing surgery after years of playing in pain, will play doubles in Eastbourne next week with Marcelo Melo and then partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert at Wimbledon where he also hopes to play mixed.

A backlogged schedule, including a three-set battle between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jeremy Chardy right before Murray's match, meant it was not until 7pm that the first ball was tossed in this doubles encounter.

"I spoke a bit about that with my coach and my team - regardless of the result you need to make sure you enjoy this, because a few months ago I had no clue whether I'd be back playing on a court".

"You know, Feli played extremely well, too, which helped".

"I started to play better in the second and have zero discomfort in my hip which would not have been the case previous year, I would have been aching and throbbing". "But I still have to improve quite a few things, like, physically".

"That's one of the things that's sometimes quite hard with tennis, often when players come back you go straight back in to playing a full three-set match at the highest level".

And if I had done this a year ago, you know, I'd be here aching, throbbing, and feel bad the next day. But I feel optimistic about the future.

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It's shaping up to be a busy Saturday for Lopez, as he finishes his doubles match, plays in the singles semifinals and possibly the doubles semifinals straight after that. "Over the previous year or two, when you look back at matches you've played and enjoyed, the Davis Cup matches have often been the ones that have been quite special in terms of atmosphere and stuff".

That's because it was my first match playing with what is essentially a metal hip!

Two magnificent aces followed to put them within a game of victory - and not even a warning for a time violation for taking too long over a discussion could boring their joy.

Two first-round matches have been held back until Thursday, those between Nick Kyrgios and Roberto Carballes Baena, and Grigor Dimitrov and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

In the first-round match against Australians Matt Reid and John-Patrick Smith, the Spaniards won the first set but lost the match 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, 6-4. I told him already it was a nice moment for me sharing the court with him.

"But then I think I started to play better in the second and started to serve a bit better, see the returns a little bit better".

"I knew some of the calls weren't going to be great".

"I'm getting a bit tight about asking now!" Lopez thumped down a couple of aces, and they served out the match, 6-3, in under an hour and a quarter.

  • Lawrence Cooper