Injury keeps Murray's preparations on hold

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The Independent Online

With seven days to go until Wimbledon, Scotland's Andrew Murray is taking the low road to SW19. The United States Open junior champion withdrew from a tournament in Nottingham yesterday to nurse an ankle injury.

With seven days to go until Wimbledon, Scotland's Andrew Murray is taking the low road to SW19. The United States Open junior champion withdrew from a tournament in Nottingham yesterday to nurse an ankle injury.

"It was a close call," Murray said, "but as there is a slight inflammation still in the ankle, I have been advised to limit my time on court for the next two days. I am really looking forward to playing at Wimbledon."

Murray, 18, was injured last Wednesday at the Stella Artois Championships at Queen's Club. Having defeated the 30th-ranked Taylor Dent, of the US, in the second round he was two points from winning the deciding set of his third-round match against Thomas Johansson, of Sweden, when he collapsed in agony.

Due to meet Johansson again in Nottingham, Murray decided not to risk aggravating the injury after a MRI scan revealed slight ligament damage. Murray's PR representative at Octagon said: "The ligament is still slightly inflamed and he has had to withdraw from the 10tele.com Open in Nottingham. He will be fit for Wimbledon."

Johnny Marray, the British No 9, had an encouraging day near the Trent, defeating his fellow Briton Alan Mackin, 6-2, 6-3, in the opening round.

Hastings Direct, the sponsor of the WTA tournament at Eastbourne, has offered a £50,000 sponsorship package to any British woman who reaches the quarter-finals.

The only remaining contender for the bonus is Elena Baltacha, the British No 1, who is due to play Conchita Martinez, of Spain, in her opening match today.

Amanda Janes was blown away yesterday by the 18th-ranked Nathalie Dechy, of France, who mastered the swirling wind to win, 6-1, 6-1.

Given a wild-card along with Baltacha, the 221st-ranked Janes said: "I hoped on my favourite surface I could do what I do well, but I didn't really feature."

Dechy arrived in Eastbourne last Wednesday and took the opportunity to practise with Kim Clijsters and Amélie Mauresmo.

"Grass is my favourite surface," Dechy said. "But the first couple of times I play on it I find it difficult. It was not easy to adjust to the windy conditions today and I was happy to break early in each set."

Clijsters, the seventh seed, is due to open her campaign today against Jelena Jankovic, of Serbia, ranked 20th.

Martina Navratilova, 48, had a disappointing day at the Ordina Open in Rosmalen. The nine-times Wimbledon champion lost in the first round to Claudine Schaul, of Luxembourg, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Several players withdrew from Wimbledon yesterday citing injuries: Carlos Moya and Gaston Gaudio, former French Open champions; Mardy Fish, of the US; and Mariano Zabaleta and Juan Ignacio Chela, of Argentina. Their places in the draw on Thursday will be taken by Janko Tipsarevic, of Serbia, Albert Montanes, of Spain, Thomas Enqvist, of Sweden, and the Czech players Ivo Minar and Bohdan Ulihrach.

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