Andy Murray comes through practice sessions unscathed

Andy Murray takes part in a practice session at the All England Club yesterday
Tom Allnutt, PA

ANDY Murray came through a practice session at Wimbledon unscathed today and said he still plans to play his first round despite a niggling hip injury.

Murray has pulled out of two exhibition matches at the Hurlingham Club this week and looked in some discomfort during an hour-and-a-half practice at the All England Club.

The world number one was hitting and serving smoothly out on Court 9 but in between rallies limped, grimaced and occasionally bent over in apparent pain.

Murray, however, often owns a deceptively weary demeanour on court and he said he intended to practise again later on Friday, with the Scot booked in for another hour at SW19.

Asked if he would play his opening match against world number 134 Alexander Bublik. on Monday, Murray said: "I hope so, that's the plan.

"I'm practising again later. I just had a light practice this morning to see how I feel and I'll practise again later."

Murray's coach Ivan Lendl has also moved to ease concerns that his charge's Wimbledon defence is on the rocks before it has even begun.

Asked if he was concerned about Murray's preparation, Lendl told various national newspapers on Thursday: "Not at all. Unlike before Paris, he is hitting the ball really well. Practice has gone well."

Murray rested on Wednesday and Thursday and is now facing a race against time to be fit for his opening match - against a qualifier or lucky loser - which is just three days away on Centre Court.

His mother Judy Murray was asked on BBC Radio 2 if her son will be there on Monday. She said: "I would say so".

The three-time grand slam champion has only played two competitive sets on grass in the lead-up to Wimbledon after his shock first-round exit at Queen's last week.

Lendl, however, indicated Murray's hitting in practice has been much better than ahead of the French Open last month, when the Briton was also struggling for form but went on to reach the semi-finals.

"I just felt that he hadn't hit enough balls as opposed to here, where he has hit enough balls," said Lendl.

"My feeling was that he was not picking the right shot because he hadn't played enough and that he didn't have the safety of saying: 'OK, I can hit this shot 15 times in a row if I have to' and that all comes from competition.

"I thought he was a couple of points away from the Paris final actually."

That run to the last four at Roland Garros appeared to mark the end of Murray's disappointing run, but any resurgence was halted at Queen's by a surprise defeat to Australian lucky loser Jordan Thompson.

"I wasn't really surprised," Lendl said.

"The first match on grass is always tricky. The guys who beat Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Andy had played qualifying or the previous week at a tournament. We have seen that movie over and over.

"Guys play matches, feel a little bit more comfortable than the guys who didn't play. That's why Novak (Djokovic) is in Eastbourne.

"He is not there because he likes Eastbourne - nothing against Eastbourne. It's because he is looking for matches on grass. It's a specific surface."


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