Andy Murray struggled through two practice sessions at Wimbledon on Friday but said he still plans to play his first round match despite a niggling hip injury.
Murray has pulled out of two exhibition matches at the Hurlingham Club this week and while emerging unscathed from around three hours of practice at the All England Club, he looked in some discomfort.
The world No 1 was hitting and serving smoothly but in between rallies limped, grimaced and occasionally bent over in apparent pain.
Murray, however, often owns a deceptively weary demeanour on court and after his first block of training in the morning, split over two hours, he indicated some optimism about playing his opening match on Monday.
“I hope so, that’s the plan,” Murray said. “I’m practising again later. I just had a light practice this morning to see how I feel and I’ll practise again later.”
After completing a second session at Aorangi Park, Murray added: “The session was good. I’m feeling OK.”
Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl has also moved to ease concerns that his charge’s Wimbledon defence is on the rocks before it has even begun.
Asked if he was concerned about Murray’s preparation, Lendl told various national newspapers on Thursday: “Not at all. Unlike before Paris, he is hitting the ball really well. Practice has gone well.”
Murray rested on Wednesday and Thursday and is now facing a race against time to be fit for his opener against Kazakh Alexander Bublik, which is just two days away on Centre Court.
His mother Judy Murray was asked on BBC Radio 2 if her son will be there on Monday. She said: “I would say so”.
The three-time grand slam champion has only played two competitive sets on grass in the lead-up to Wimbledon after his shock first-round exit at Queen’s last week.
Lendl, however, indicated Murray’s hitting in practice has been much better than ahead of the French Open last month, when the Briton was also struggling for form but went on to reach the semi-finals.
“I just felt that he hadn’t hit enough balls as opposed to here, where he has hit enough balls,” said Lendl.
“My feeling was that he was not picking the right shot because he hadn’t played enough and that he didn’t have the safety of saying: ‘OK, I can hit this shot 15 times in a row if I have to’ and that all comes from competition.
“I thought he was a couple of points away from the Paris final actually.”