LONDON (Reuters) – Former world number one Andy Murray suffered a tough draw as he tries to get in shape for Wimbledon with a first round clash against French enfant terrible Benoit Paire in the warm-up tournament Queen’s key.
Murray has won the Queen’s five times and the 34-year-old Scot will play his first singles tournament since March.
It starts on Monday.
The two-time Wimbledon champion suffered a groin injury ahead of the Miami Open in March and withdrew from the French Open after feeling additional discomfort.
Pair will be a tough opponent in the first round for Murray, who received a wild card entry, although the extent of the challenge may depend on the Frenchman’s mood.
Paire so upset the authorities with his outspokenness that in April the French Tennis Federation took the extraordinary step of excluding him from the Tokyo Olympics.
If Murray beat him, he would likely face Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in the second round.
Murray enjoyed an exciting return to Queen’s two years ago after hip surgery winning the doubles with veteran Spain Feliciano Lopez.
However, injuries have haunted him ever since.
He has only played three tour-level singles matches since October.
He trained with top players in Rome last month and has competed in two doubles competitions.
Wimbledon, the third Grand Slam of the year, kicks off at the All England Club in London on June 28.
Murray last won Wimbledon in 2016 and, hampered by fitness issues, hasn’t reached week two of a grand slam since 2017.