Andy Murray to ramp up Wimbledon preparations by entering Surbiton Trophy on Monday
Andy Murray pulled out of ongoing French Open to give him time to get ready for Wimbledon, and will appear at Surbiton Trophy for the first time since 2004; he will face Austrian No 1 Jurij Rodionov on Monday
Last Updated: 29/05/22 12:13pm
Andy Murray will step up his Wimbledon preparations on Monday when he faces Austria No 1 Jurij Rodionov in the first round of the Surbiton Trophy.
The three-time Grand Slam winner is back at the ATP Challenger Tour event for the first time since 2004 after he elected to skip the ongoing French Open.
Murray, who recently hit out at suggestions Wimbledon will be like an exhibition due to the lack of ranking points on offer this summer, will take on an opponent who has won two ATP Challenger titles this year and is ranked number 125 in the world.
It will be the first meeting between the pair and also the opening match of Murray's grass-court campaign, with his last competitive encounter at the Madrid Open on clay almost four weeks ago.
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The Briton secured an impressive victory in three sets over Denis Shapovalov on May 3 to set up a much-anticipated clash with Novak Djokovic but had to pull out due to illness.
Sunday is the official start day for the Surbiton Trophy, which was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but only qualifying will take place before the main draw begins on Monday, with Murray set to be the third
match on centre court.
Murray says Wimbledon "will never feel like an exhibition" in response to comments by Cameron Norrie and Naomi Osaka, who suggested players may not turn up due to ranking points being removed.
Russian and Belarusian players were last month banned from competing at this year's Wimbledon due to the invasion of Ukraine, a decision which both the WTA and ATP criticised.
As a result, Wimbledon then had its ranking points stripped by the ATP and WTA due to the barring of Russian and Belarusian players from this summer's Grand Slam tournament.
"Wimbledon is still such a special event. But I think you'll see top players not playing, just resting and getting ready for the hardcourt events," Britain's Norrie said this week.
"It's an extremely difficult situation with everything going on with the war, but for me it's tough - having a home slam and not gaining any ranking points from that. You're not really playing for anything, you're playing this almost like an exhibition so for me it was tough to see."
On Wednesday, Murray - two-time Wimbledon winner in 2013 and 2016 - voiced his disagreement via Twitter:
I follow golf very closely and have no idea how many ranking points the winner of the The Masters gets. Me and my friends love football and non of us know or care how many ranking points a team gets for winning the World Cup. But I could tell you exactly who won the World Cup and the Masters. I'd hazard a guess that most people watching on Centre Court at Wimbledon in a few weeks time wouldn't know or care about how many ranking points a player gets for winning a 3rd round match.
"But I guarantee they will remember who wins. Wimbledon will never be an exhibition and will never feel like an exhibition. The end."