LONDON: Steady rain on Monday washed out the opening day of the British grass-court season but could not dampen the spirits of Andy Murray, who is quietly confident his recent back problems are no longer an issue.
After six hours of waiting in vain for clearing, officials abandoned play for the day but have the added worry of another grim forecast for Tuesday.
Having struggled to a quarter-final exit at the French Open, Murray arrives at Queens as the top seed and the holder of a trophy he has won three times in total, starting in 2007.
The 25-year-old Scot said that a few days off after his Roland Garros loss to David Ferrer had put him right physically in time for the pre-Wimbledon buildup.
“I didn’t want to lose early in Paris but I managed to get a couple of days off, which I haven’t had in three or four weeks. I really needed it for my back, it feels a lot better,” said Murray, who has been training in between the showers which have blanketed London in recent days with coach Ivan Lendl.
“I’ve had a couple of good practices on the grass and I feel fine.”
Murray is bracing for the annual British sporting rite of piling on the home pressure in preparation for the grass-court grand slam.
The last British man to win Wimbledon was Fred Perry in 1936, more than three-quarters of a century ago.
But as usual, he will concentrate on making the switch from clay to grass and let expectations fall where they will.
“The thing that’s tough is more the surface change. You try to go into every tournament with the mentality of winning it otherwise there’s not much point in being there,” he said.
“You try and take each match as it comes, but changing surfaces is not that easy.”
After a bye, Murray will open against the winner from the clash between Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, whom he beat in the third round a year ago, and 2007 finalist Nicolas Mahut of France.
Murray heads the field ahead of Frenchman, and 2011 runner-up, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with Serb Janko Tipsarevic and France’s Gilles Simon seeded third and fourth respectively.