Andy Murray is growing used to breaking British records and will claim another at the Aegon Championships at Queen's Club this week. The world No 3, already the highest-rated Briton since the rankings were introduced 36 years ago, will be the first of his countrymen to go into the pre-Wimbledon event as the No 1 seed.
Murray has been training in London since losing in the French Open quarter-finals last week. He has spent some time on the grass courts at Queen's, where he has practised with Lleyton Hewitt, who will be his doubles partner this week, but has also had to train on the indoor courts at the National Tennis Centre at Roehampton because of the inclement weather.
The Scot, along with the seven other seeds, has a bye in the first round and will play his first match, against Andreas Seppi or Robby Ginepri, tomorrow or on Wednesday. He could meet Mardy Fish in the quarter-finals, while Gael Monfils or Marat Safin are possible semi-final opponents. The other half of the draw includes Andy Roddick, who is the No 2 seed, and Gilles Simon.
Apart from Murray there are two other Britons in the field. Josh Goodall, who plays Gilles Muller, and James Ward, who meets Marcos Baghdatis, both received wild cards. The five Britons in qualifying all lost.
Murray owes his seeding to the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal, whose participation at Wimbledon, which starts in 14 days' time, is looking increasingly doubtful. The world No 1 is in Barcelona today for tests on a knee injury. "I am not too optimistic," Toni Nadal, his uncle and coach, told the French radio station RMC. "He is very affected by this."
Jie Zheng and Kaia Kanepi are the top two seeds at the Aegon Classic at Edgbaston, though the focus of interest will be Maria Sharapova, who is unseeded, having played only two tournaments since returning from shoulder surgery. Anne Keothavong, Katie o'Brien, Mel South and Elena Baltacha lead the British challenge.