Andy Murray will not be risking his long-term fitness by playing at the Monte-Carlo Masters, the world number one has insisted. Murray has not played competitively for over five weeks due to an elbow injured which forced him to miss the Miami Masters and Great Britain's Davis Cup quarter-final defeat to France.
The 29-year-old has been unable to practice serving due to a pain in his elbow, forcing him to take a lengthy rest from the sport. He faces Giles Muller in the second round (after a bye) in the opening clay court tournament of the season on Wednesday [19 April] in preparation for the French Open in May.
When Murray takes to the court against an opponent in Muller who he has beaten in each of their five meetings it will end a stretch of 37 days without a competitive outing – the last coming in defeat to Vasek Pospisil in Indian Wells. The three-time major champion did play Roger Federer in an exhibition match in Zurich last week which he came through unscathed but could be half-baked when he takes on Muller.
"I was not optimistic after playing Roger in Zurich, my serve felt much slower than normal," the Scot said ahead of his comeback. "But every day I was building up. Often the elbow can get sore if I've not served for a week or 10 days. But each day started to get better. That's what we had been hoping for. I had to take two or two and a half weeks off for it so I don't know which is was, the lack of serving or the injury.
"I would not be playing if I felt I was taking a risk. For the last two days I've been serving normally. By the time of my match I will have had five days of serving at the right speed. I feel fine now, even if the start of the year was a bit tough. I've been lucky with injuries. I have a lot of big events coming on and I'm looking forward to them. My clay expectations are very high."