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Murray fit for Wimbledon title defence

Britain’s Andy Murray returns to Australia’s Jordan Thompson on June 20, 2017

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 2 – Andy Murray insisted he is fit enough to start the defence of his Wimbledon title on Monday despite his recent struggles with a hip injury.

Murray sparked concerns he might have to withdraw from Wimbledon after cancelling two scheduled exhibition matches this week due to his sore hip.

The world number one was seen limping while practising at Wimbledon over the weekend, but he is convinced he can make it through two weeks of the grass court Grand Slam.

“I’ll be fine to play the event and play seven matches,” Murray told reporters at Wimbledon on Sunday.

Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion, will play the first match on Centre Court on Monday against Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik.

That will be a huge lift for Murray, who admitted he had been worried the hip pain wouldn’t ease off in time for Wimbledon.

“You never know. I haven’t been in that sort of position too often, only a few days before a Slam and not felt good at all,” he said.

“Obviously this is an extremely important tournament, so you worry a little bit. It’s a little bit stressful if you can’t practise for a few days.

“You really want to be preparing, training as much as you can to get ready and make you feel better, especially when you hadn’t had any matches.

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“I just tried to think positively. I tried to make the best decisions along with my team to give myself the best chance to feel good on Monday. I feel like I’ve done that.”

Facing world number 134 Bublik should be a gentle introduction to the tournament for Murray, who is desperately short of match practice on grass after a shock Queen’s Club first-round loss against unheralded Australian Jordan Thompson.

– ‘Confidence’ –

Defending champion Andy Murray’s indifferent form of late did not prevent him being named top seed for Wimbledon for the first time

Crucially, the Scot said his injury has started to feel better after lengthy treatment and prolonged periods of rest over the last week.

“It’s just been very sore the last few weeks and was giving me quite a lot of trouble, moving to certain shots and getting to certain positions,” he said.

“That was why I had to take the break to try to give it a chance to settle down, calm down a bit.

“It’s felt a lot better in the last few days. Practice each day has got a little bit better.

“If I feel like I am today, I’d be delighted and have no issues getting through.

“If necessary, I can take some antiinflammatories if my hip flares up. Hopefully that’s not the case.”

Murray also went into the French Open with concerns over his form and fitness, but gradually played his way back to his best en route to the semi-finals.

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The three-time Grand Slam winner is hoping for a similar scenario at Wimbledon.

“It’s been slightly stop-start preparations. But each day I’ve felt better, a little bit like at the French Open,” he said.

“I didn’t come in as well-prepared, but I still found a way with each match to feel a bit better, and built confidence each day. I’m hoping that’s the case here.”

When Murray last defended the Wimbledon title in 2014, he slumped to a disappointing quarter-final exit against Grigor Dimitrov, but he expects to cope better with the pressure this time.

“Obviously a little bit more experience, a bit older now. Hopefully I’m able to deal with things better this time round,” he said.

“Maybe it adds a little bit extra pressure, especially at this slam with the way the scheduling is, that you’re the first one out there on Centre Court.

“You feel like you’re opening up the tournament a little bit, and that adds a few more nerves. But I feel okay.

“I’ve felt fairly calm the last few days, considering how I’ve been feeling. I’m going out there trying to win Wimbledon again.”

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