Andy Murray to return to action in 'Battle of the Brits' charity tournament

Molly McElwee
Andy Murray and Jamie Murray - PA

Andy Murray will return to action next month as part of a six-day "Battle of the Brits" charity tournament organised by brother Jamie.

Jamie Murray, the seven-times Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles champion, said he had been planning the event since he returned from the cancelled Indian Wells tournament in March, when the WTA and ATP seasons were put on hold by coronavirus.

Beginning on June 23 at the Lawn Tennis Association's Roehampton Base, the Schroders Battle of the Brits will bring live tennis back to British fans in a month which should have featured the Wimbledon Championships.

The behind-closed-doors, indoor tournament will follow a similar group-based style to the ATP Finals broadcast live on Amazon Prime and raise at least £100,000 for NHS charities. Alongside the charity element there will also be prize money, as of yet not finalised.

Before the lockdown, Andy had been planning a return to the court after another injury-enforced absence. The 33-year-old was unable to hit for three months due to bone growth associated with the hip resurfacing operation he underwent in January 2019.

Jamie said it was a great opportunity for his brother to "test his hip" before the tour restarts and the three-time major champion completes a singles line-up which includes all top eight British men's single players: Dan Evans, Kyle Edmund, Cameron Norrie, Jay Clarke, Liam Broady, Jack Draper, James Ward.

"The cool thing about the event is this is the first time these guys have come together to compete against each other," Jamie Murray said, adding that the players had been discussing the upcoming tournament in a Whatsapp group. "They have been trash talking about this for quite a few weeks now."

"I think it is a good platform for all the players, great visibility for them and British tennis, the good stuff that has been going on from the men's side of the game."

The tournament will also feature a doubles competition, which Jamie confirmed Andy will not be taking part in. Matches will be two sets with a tiebreak, with singles players all guaranteed three matches, and no ball boys or girls or line judges involved, in order to minimise the number of people on court for social distancing purposes.

The Battle of the Brits will not include female players, and Murray said this was down to logistical reasoning, including accommodating players on-site, more than anything: "Ideally it would be great to have that event where everyone is involved. I just think that at the time it was so up in the air as to what we were going to be allowed to do, what was going to be possible. That is potentially 14, 16 more players that would need to be accommodated for. For me, at that time, it was just easier to commit to a smaller playing field."

The LTA is working with Murray to ensure health and safety protocols are followed, for this, the first tennis tournament in the UK since the lockdown. It precedes the LTA's planned four British Tour events, aimed to be held between July 3-26 subject to confirmation of government requirements, which will include the top 16 male and female players.