The summer solstice will bring the longest day of the year, but for Andy Murray the longest test will begin on Monday. The 26-year-old Scot will learn more about the size of his task when the draw for next week's Wimbledon tournament is made at the All England Club tomorrow morning.
Murray said that he would be focusing only on his first-round opponent – and would be practising when the draw is made – but he will surely cast his eye over the potential quarter-final line-ups. Like Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, he must be hoping that Rafael Nadal, the No 5 seed, is not in his quarter of the draw. "You always have to remember that in most tournaments there are upsets and very rarely do you get every one of the top seeds through to the quarters and semi-finals," Murray said. "It is no use worrying about the draw, or where Rafa is going to be, because it means getting to the quarter-finals first."
Nadal will make his first appearance since the French Open when he plays Japan's Kei Nishikori here today in the BNP Paribas Tennis Classic, one of the exhibition tournaments where many players hone their game before Wimbledon. The Spaniard pulled out of last week's grass-court tournament in Halle to assess his fitness after an exhausting clay-court campaign.
Murray played Nishikori here and looked good as he beat the 23-year-old Japanese 6-2, 7-6. "I had to make sure it was a good competitive match and I was pretty concentrated, so it was a good work-out and another match under my belt on grass," Murray said. British interest may have ended in the singles at this week's Aegon International in Eastbourne, but Jonny Marray and Colin Fleming reached the doubles final after beating Marcin Matkowski and Frederik Nielsen 3-6, 6-3, 11-9. In the final they will play Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares, who beat Jamie Murray and Australia's John Peers 6-4, 6-4.
Caroline Wozniacki is the only seed through to the semi-finals of the women's singles. The former world No 1, who beat Ekaterina Makarova 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, now plays Jamie Hampton, of the United States. The other semi-final will see Russia's Elena Vesnina take on Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer.
In the men's competition France's Gilles Simon, the second seed, earned a semi-final place against Italy's Andreas Seppi when he beat Bernard Tomic 7-6, 6-3. In the other half of the draw Croatia's Ivan Dodig will face Spain's Feliciano Lopez.