Andy Murray in tears after winning return at Queen’s as injury-plagued Scot edges past Paire

An emotional Andy Murray admitted time could be running out on his career on Tuesday, despite enjoying a surprisingly comfortable win in his comeback match.

The double Wimbledon champion defeated Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-2 to make the second round of the cinch Championships at Queen’s Club — only his second win of a restricted season.

Afterwards, Murray reflected that he needs to enjoy every win while he can, having become emotional in his immediate post-match BBC interview.

Andy Murray made a winning return in his first singles match on grass for three years

Andy Murray made a winning return in his first singles match on grass for three years

Andy Murray made a winning return in his first singles match on grass for three years

‘I’m always sort of telling myself — and maybe it’s not the best mindset — but each match could be my last one that I play now,’ he said. ‘I want to make the most of every match that I play and each tournament that I get the chance to compete in.

‘I wish when I was coming into these events 10 years ago, I just wish I had appreciated the small moments, like walking back on the grass court for the first time off the back of the clay season. Just enjoying those moments. Then celebrating wins and enjoying them more than probably I did.’

Earlier, he had needed to choke back tears when coming off court to speak to interviewer John Inverdale.

‘I love playing tennis. Sorry,’ he said, welling up with emotion. ‘Competing is why you put in all the hard work. The last few years I’ve not got to do as much of that as I would have liked so it’s just great I’m out here and able to compete again.’

Murray was playing his first singles match since early March, although he was able to get through two doubles encounters at the Italian Open in Rome last month before abandoning the clay court season.

An emotional Murray came through his comeback match unscathed on Tuesday

Paire, who is hopelessly out of form, did not present the toughest challenge but now Murray plays the top seed, Italy’s world No 9 Matteo Berrettini, who will be a different proposition altogether.

This is Murray’s main preparation for Wimbledon and he will formally be handed a wildcard entry this week.

The Championships will today offer its players a pay rise on their earnings from the French Open while remaining ‘prudent’ on its prize money.

The All England Club has had to wait until now before revealing its 2021 purse as this was dependent on ticket allocations. While the 50 per cent crowd capacity for most of the event (and 100 per cent for the finals) will boost revenue above initially projected levels, there are still extra costs involved in staging a Covid-compliant Championships.

Yet there will still be more on offer than the £29.6million paid out by Roland Garros over the past fortnight. The total prize-money at SW19 this year is expected to be a similar amount to the £38m awarded in 2019.

Murray has battled so hard and clearly the win over Paire meant the world to him

Murray has battled so hard and clearly the win over Paire meant the world to him

Murray has battled so hard and clearly the win over Paire meant the world to him 

The ability to attract an aggregate attendance of more than 250,000 over the fortnight will benefit the players as well as spectators, who will be told how they can apply for tickets from Thursday.

Although Covid certification will be required — showing either a double vaccination or negative test — that should also mean there will not be the same zoning of the facility that was in place for February’s Australian Open, which restricted movement.

The mask situation is expected to be the same as at the cinch Championships at Queen’s Club, where they are required for walking around the grounds but not for sitting in seats. While Wimbledon is an outdoor tournament, the closing of the roofs on Centre Court and Number One will be permitted in the event of rain.

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