Tennis

Murray upbeat about playing at Wimbledon

Top seed will meet Wawrinka in the quarters and Nadal in the semis if the seedings play out

Wimbledon title-holder Andy Murray said he hopes to be fighting fit for his first-round match on Monday after he negotiated a 90-minute practice session at the All England Club yesterday.

The 30-year-old Scot, who is the top seed for the first time in his career at Wimbledon, is battling a niggling hip problem which forced him to withdraw from playing a couple of exhibition matches this week.

However, while some in the media who watched yesterday's session said he was limping and grimacing, Murray himself said nothing had changed regarding his participation at the Grand Slam which he has won twice.

"I hope so, that's the plan," said Murray when asked if he will make it for his first-round match with Russian-born Kazakh lucky loser Alexander Bublik on Monday.

"I'm practising again later. I just had a light practice this morning to see how I feel and I'll practise again later."

Murray's coach Ivan Lendl also struck a defiant note as to both his preparation - his only competitive outing saw him beaten by journeyman Australian Jordan Thompson in the first round of Queen's last week - and his fitness to defend the title.

"Not at all. Unlike before Paris, he is hitting the ball really well. Practice has gone well," said Lendl.

Roger Federer, a seven-time champion at the All England Club, said he was convinced Murray would be on court for his first-round match on Monday.

"I expect him to play unless I have missed something completely," said the Swiss.

"I would know more about it, I think, if it had been a really significant injury. The way I know Andy, he's tough as nails and I feel like he's going to be there on the opening Monday.

"He would need to be significantly injured not to play.

"For me, if he can get through that first round and feel better afterwards, absolutely he should play."

At yesterday's draw, top seed Murray was placed in the same half as Rafael Nadal.

After his first-round match against Bublik, he will meet either Joao Sousa or Dustin Brown in the second round.

The Scot could then have to beat fellow seeds Fabio Fognini and Lucas Pouille, a quarter-finalist 12 months ago, in order to reach the later stages. As well as Pouille, Nick Kyrgios is also a possible last-16 opponent.

Murray will also meet Wawrinka in the quarter-finals if the seedings play out.

Nadal is on course for a last-eight meeting with Marin Cilic.

Meanwhile, Federer and Novak Djokovic are seeded to meet in the semi-finals in the other half.

Federer is in the same quarter as last year's runner-up Raonic - that would be a repeat of last year's semi-final that the Canadian won in five sets.

The Swiss, favourite to win a record eighth title, opens against Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Dominic Thiem is Djokovic's potential quarter-final foe.

The tricky test in Djokovic's path is Juan Martin del Potro - the pair could meet in the third round.

The duo played out an epic semi-final in 2013 when Djokovic won in five sets.

The Serb, winner in 2011, 2014 and 2015, will play Martin Klizan first up. - WIRE SERVICES

tennisWimbledonANDY MURRAY