Andy Murray returns to a singles competition for the first time since January as he is set to play Richard Gasquet on Monday.
Murray is keeping expectations low as he tests how his right hip will withstand the rigours of one-on-one competition at Cincinnati.
The Briton lost in the first round of the Australian Open in January. After which he underwent hip surgery and has since played in doubles events.
“You realise getting back to singles is a hard thing to do because you’re at the mercy of the draws a lot of the time, but I would have absolutely signed for being in this position six months ago,” said Murray. “I’ll just deal with it as it comes, but hopefully it makes for some exciting early rounds.”
For Murray the success of this week will not depend on wins and losses but on tangibles like movement, recovery time, and remaining pain free.
Murray, now ranked 325 in the world, is expected on court around 19:00 BST against world-number-66 Gasquet.
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Murray gained a wildcard entry and speaking on the eve of the tournament the three-time Grand Slam winner said he has had “good” results against top players on the practice court.
“But at some stage you have to take the step to try and play,” he added. “The quickest way to get up to speed is by being on the practice and match court with top players.
“I’m not expecting to move as well I used to, but I think I can move better than I am now,” he said. “That will take some time since I only started playing singles a couple of weeks ago.
“When you’re playing at the highest level against the best players, they hit the ball big and that takes some time to get used to.”
Novak Djokovic – who won the Cincinnati Open in 2018 – is part of the field for the tournament, as is world number three Roger Federer.
Meanwhile, Murray has added tournaments in China in September and October to his schedule but has not committed to playing singles at the US Open.