Murray ready for Malisse test at Queen's
Andy Murray feels in good form, despite recent concerns over his ankle, as he prepares to launch his Wimbledon build-up against Xavier Malisse at the AEGON Championships.
The British number one arrived at Queen's Club on the back of his best ever French Open performance, which ended in a semi-final defeat to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.
Murray finished the tournament on painkillers after damaging a tendon in his right ankle and he will need medication to get through this week and, potentially, Wimbledon.
The Scot is also frustrated by the lack of preparation time after Roland Garros - but he came through a long grass-court workout yesterday and will play doubles with brother Jamie tonight.
Murray, champion at Queen's in 2009, will then launch his bid to regain the title against Malisse tomorrow, having been given a bye into the second round.
"It was my best French Open so I am pleased with that," said Murray.
"I felt I was a bit patchy throughout the tournament but I was finding a way to win, especially in sets where I was behind.
"I came back a lot in matches which is something I hadn't been doing before the clay-court stretch, which is good.
"Winning matches when you are not playing your best is really important."
Playing on grass throws up a whole set of new challenges for Murray. His right ankle, like his left, will now be heavily strapped when he takes the court.
Murray trod gingerly as he got used to the grass conditions and he spent much of yesterday's session working on his volleying game.
"It's not enough time, that's a fact," he said.
"It will be two days of practice and then you're straight into the tournament. The surfaces are completely different, the balls are completely different.
"The only negative about doing well at the French Open is that you have less time to prepare for the grass. But I'd rather be in this position."
Malisse, who made a solid start to his grass-court season with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Matthias Bachinger, insisted he would not be looking to exploit Murray's suspect ankle.
"If he's playing, it means he's good to play. I don't think he'll take too many risks with Wimbledon coming up," said the Belgian, who is ranked 40 in the world.
"If you think too much about the other person you don't play your own game and you miss shots.
"Of course he's the favourite on paper, plus he's playing at home. I don't have much to lose."
Malisse took a set off Murray at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Rome earlier this year but he is yet to beat him in three attempts.
"We had a good match in Rome a couple weeks back. I went for shots in that match and I'll definitely have to play aggressive tomorrow."
Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, making his first appearance on grass in nearly two years, opened his campaign with a 6-4 6-2 victory Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin.
Del Potro missed most of the 2010 season with a wrist injury and dropped to 484 in the world but he is now ranked 22nd.
The 6ft 6in Argentine broke Istamin three times in the first set and twice in the second to book a second-round clash with Igor Kunitsyn.
Nadal will face Matthew Ebden in the second round after the Australian qualifier beat India's Somdev Devvarman 7-5 6-3.
Andy Roddick, third seed and four-time former Queen's champion, battled past Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 in two hours 13 minutes.
Roddick, playing for the first time in a month after pulling out of the French Open with a shoulder injury, recovered from a break down in the deciding set to clinch the win.
"I love it on grass and am so happy to be back on it. I feel good. This is one of my favourite tournaments in the world," said Roddick.
"As for this match, I played to win. Of course we come over to prepare for Wimbledon, but we're trying to win this tournament."
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