Andy Murray targets first singles win since hip surgery in Winston-Salem

After ending his brief fling with doubles, Andy Murray will focus once more on his true love as he bids for a first win in singles since undergoing a hip resurfacing operation.

Not since the first day of 2019 has the two-time Wimbledon champion tasted victory as a solo athlete and the joy of a win over then world No. 234 James Duckworth in Brisbane wasn’t overly sweet given the sheer agony Murray was enduring courtesy of his hip.

A successful operation followed later in January and – after a couple of months of doubles – by August Murray was back in singles action, losing 6-4 6-4 to eventual semi-finalist Richard Gasquet at the Cincinnati Masters last week.

A comeback win at Masters 1000 level was perhaps fanciful but after deciding to scrap plans to compete in doubles at the US Open later this month, the former world No. 1 will end his summer tour of the United States with a debut appearance at the Winston-Salem Open – an ATP 250 event.

‘The opportunity came up to play and from everyone I chatted to, they said it’s a nice tournament,’ Murray said. ‘Very convenient, lots of practice courts.

‘It felt like a smart move to come and play here before heading home. Hopefully I can get more than one match here and try to win my first singles match since coming back from the surgery.’

The British wildcard will take on world No. 73 Tennys Sandgren in the first round on Monday – a match that feels winnable on paper even at this early stage in his comeback given the American is on a four-match losing streak.

While the pressure remains off for the 32-year-old – with match play rather than titles the priority – he hopes to find his best form come the end of the current season.

‘My expectations are very low,’ three-time Grand Slam champion Murray added. ‘I’m not thinking about winning events like this just yet. I’m just trying to get matches.

‘I’m hoping that by the end of this year, I can start getting back to the best that I’ll be. I just want to get through some matches and hopefully my body holds up well.’

Should he beat Sandgren, Murray would book an enticing second-round clash with young Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

Murray has yet to face the 20-year-old second seed, who has failed to win back-to-back matches since a run to the semi-finals of the Miami Open back in March.

Dan Evans is the only other Brit in the singles draw. The world No. 58 has a bye into the second round where he will face either Steve Johnson or Corentin Moutet.

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