Andy Murray’s first public step back on any kind of tennis court for a month turned out to be Monday morning on a barge in the middle of the river Limmat, flowing through Zurich.
By the evening he was in more conventional surroundings, again playing Roger Federer, but this time in the city’s Hallenstadion, in an exhibition match to raise funds for the Swiss master’s charitable foundation.
The Match for Africa turned out to be a mixture of proper competition and showboating. Murray looked sharp enough before an adoring crowd who rarely get to see their country’s top sporting idol play at home.
Recent elbow problems have affected Murray’s serve, and there were two double faults as he was broken early in a 6-3, 7-6 defeat.
His first serve was somewhat under powered but still clocked at well over 110mph.
The match is hoped to be a precursor to the more serious business of the world No 1 defending the large number of ranking points he gained on clay last year, starting at next week’s Monte Carlo Open.
He told Eurosport he was broadly pleased with how his recovery from elbow problems was going.
‘I’m doing better, I’ve been practicing here for the last four or five days,’ he said of his recent stint hitting at the Mouratoglou Academy in Nice. ‘I had the problem with my elbow but the good thing was I could do everything except serve.
‘So the last four or five days I have started to serve a little bit. I’m not serving as fast as I would like yet but am hoping over the next five or six days I will be able to start serving like normal.’
Asked when he would be back he replied: ‘French Open for sure, Monte C