Andy Murray is set to take on 2020 French Open women’s champion Iga Swiatek in practice as he builds up for a Grand Slam return at Wimbledon.
I do think it’s very reachable for him to get to the fourth round or the quarters Mats Wilander
The two-time All England champion is on an ‘on-off’ comeback road following a long-term hip problem and more recent groin trouble.
And the Brit, a former world No.1, has agreed to go on a grass court with Swiatek.
It follows a request from the Pole who practised with defending male Paris champion Rafa Nadal, another who has topped the rankings, prior to her Roland Garros defence.
Murray tweeted after watching the swashbuckling Swiatek overcome Marta Kostyuk in their last-16 encounter in the French capital: “Love watching @iga_swiatek.”
The 20-year-old ace, Junior Wimbledon champion in 2018, replied: “Thank you Sir Andy! Are you by any chance up for a practice? I really need to improve my skills on grass,”
And Murray, 34, answered: “Anytime. Just promise to go easy as I’m a bit old and fragile now.”
Murray’s mum Judy claimed her youngest son is “desperate to get back into competition”.
She said: “He loves the game, loves competing. He’s a real warrior, we all know that. So he’s desperate to get back into competition again. Fingers crossed for Queen’s (next week) and Wimbledon (in the following two weeks).”
Judy reckoned Andy can be inspired by Roger Federer, another who has had injury problems.
She said: “Look at Roger. Still going strong at 39. Andy’s only 34?”
Has Murray several more years in the game? Judy, talking to the BBC, said: “I hope so.”
Mats Wilander, a Eurosport pundit and former world No.1, has backed Murray to have a run in London SW19 this year.
Murray turned down a wild card into Paris to be tournament-fit for grass.
Wilander said: “He can definitely get to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for sure. Absolutely.
“He can have a couple of heroic efforts on Centre Court against lower ranked players get a little bit of confidence.
“Obviously the draw is massive. I do not know if he gets drawn against Tsitsipas in the first round or obviously Novak, Rafa, and Roger, but if its Tsitsipas in the first round that’s a problem.
“But if he gets to win a match gain some confidence and then suddenly thrown into the fourth round against Tsitsipas and we are all fired up and it’s live or die for him, Murray can beat those guys.
“For sure he can beat Tsitsipas, Zverev, and Medvedev and all those guys. I am not sure about Novak and Rafa because I think they refuse to lose to him these days – unless he has a great serving day then there is a chance.
“I do think it’s very reachable for him to get to the fourth round or the quarters. Maybe he could even beat Roger but Rafa and Novak, [but that] might be slightly out of his league at the moment.”