This week in Antwerp, a resurgent Andy Murray will appear in his first ATP event in Europe for 16 months. And while the choice of tournament might seem surprising – especially given that Murray has never played here before – it makes sense in terms of his personal life.
Murray’s wife Kim is expecting their third child imminently, he revealed last week. And after the tension of the 2016 Australian Open – which he spent nervously waiting with his bags packed, in case his eldest daughter Sophia should arrive early – he wanted to be nearer at hand this time.
“The main reason is that it’s the closest tournament to home for me, and my wife is quite pregnant right now,” said Murray on Monday, in his first interview at Antwerp’s Lotto Arena. “The last time I was in that situation I found myself in Australia and I didn’t want to be in that position again.”
Murray will open his campaign on Tuesday night against a local Belgian wild card, world No 158 Kimmer Coppejans. He has climbed to No 243 in the world himself, after picking up four wins in China in the last few weeks, and is likely to call a halt to his season – with the exception of the Davis Cup in late November – after this tournament.
Meanwhile Roger Federer has told the audience at an exhibition match in Japan that he intends to participate in next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. Technically, Federer is not eligible for the Olympics, given that he has not appeared in the Davis Cup since 2015. But there is room for discretion here, and if anyone can expect to be given special dispensation, it is surely the world’s most popular player.
Finally, Kyle Edmund’s slide down the rankings ladder means that Dan Evans becomes the 13th man to be ranked as British No 1. "I don't look at myself [that way],” Evans told the BBC. “I think Andy is British No 1, and then there's me, Cameron [Norrie] and Kyle behind him.”