Andy Murray
Murray returns to action for the first time since April.

Andy Murray begins his French Open preparations against Nicolas Almagro in the second round of the Madrid Masters on Wednesday.

The world No. 8 hasn't played since Great Britain's Davis Cup defeat to Italy in April after missing the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open.

Since undergoing back surgery and missing the backend of the 2013 season, Murray has tumbled down the rankings but hopes to inspire a turnaround in fortunes against Almgaro, who ended Rafa Nadal's 11-year unbeaten record in Barcelona last week.

"That will be an extremely tough match, definitely one of the hardest first-round matches you could get as a seed," Murray told BBC Sport.

"He obviously beat Rafa a few days ago and he's playing in Spain in front of a home crowd, so it will be very tough."

Murray suffered a straight sets defeat to Fabio Fognini on his last outing on clay in the Davis Cup and takes on another specialist at the start of his campaign in Madrid.

Should the Scot defeat Almagro, he is due to face Jo-Wilfried-Tsonga in round three before potential meetings with Spanish pair Fernando Verdasco and Rafael Nadal.

Both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have withdrawn from the tournament due to injury and personal reasons respectively.

"I missed a large part of last year with the surgery," added Murray. "There are a few big tournaments after the US Open. Hopefully if I play good tennis, my ranking will improve. You need to win matches to improve your rankings, so we'll see.

"These next few weeks and in particular Roland Garros, as I missed it last year, is a goal of mine.

"I'd like to be playing my best tennis by the time I get there and the best way to do that is by winning matches in these events to build the confidence up and get used to playing on clay again."