Andy Murray overcomes Alexei Popyrin to reach Queen's Club second round

 (Getty Images for LTA)
(Getty Images for LTA)

Andy Murray’s 1000th match on the ATP Tour finally proved to be a happy one but, for a time, it looked like all manner of eventualities were possible.

Spectators packed into the stands at Queen’s Club for the five-time champion’s final appearance at the tournament.

There have been more dramatic Murray moments on the grass and yet there was still plenty from the Scot’s usual playbook: grumblings to the umpire, fist pumping and shouts of “let’s go”.

Victories have eluded him since damaging his ankle at the Miami Open back in March but this one against Alexei Popyrin looked to be well under control as he won the first set with a single break of serve.

But he was immediately broken back in his first service game of the second set and could never close the gap back on his Australian opponent in the set.

Ominously, he started hobbling around predominantly as he landed after a number of serves and, while he didn’t need medical attention for it, there were nervous looks both from his player’s box and the wider crowd.

These are the final days of Murray on tour. There may be just three or four tournaments leftof his illustrious career and yet he was eventually a deserving winner 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

He had said in the build-up, he was still playing on this summer as he was enjoying himself and, for the most part, his body was holding up.

At points, he toiled under overcast skies, at others he relished orchestrating his supporters, who had witnessed three preceding matches on Queen’s Centre Court.

Murray survives for another day in the singles but his doubles partner for the tournament, Dan Evans, pulled out of their opening-round clash on Thursday.

Evans had been playing well against Brandon Nakashima, tied at a set apiece when he slipped nastily on the surface and was sufficiently in pain to not be able to carry on.

It threw not just the doubles at Queen’s in doubt but his potential Wimbledon participation as well as the Olympics where he is a possible doubles partner for what is looking the likeliest career farewell for Murray.

Evans said of the issue: “I'm worried, no doubt. I think it's MCL, sort of a bit inside of the knee, there is an issue there, that's for sure on the testing so far with the physios. So, I've got to wait 48 hours, let it settle, and then get a scan. But I'm worried.”