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Murray starts Queen’s farewell with gritty win

Britain’s Andy Murray began what is likely to be his final Queen’s appearance with a gritty win over Australia’s Alexei Popyrin.

Former world number one Murray earned a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory in his first-round match on Tuesday.

Murray, who is a record five-time champion at Queen’s, is not expecting to play past the Paris 2024 Olympics as he contemplates where and when he will end his glittering career.

It has been a tough year for the Scot, who ruptured ankle ligaments in March and has struggled with a back injury in recent weeks.

The 37-year-old has dropped outside the world’s top 100, with the victory over Popyrin just his seventh of the season.

“It has been a difficult season but I did well to come through in the end,” said Murray.

“Any win you can get is important – obviously with Wimbledon a few weeks away I want to build up confidence and get matches in my legs.”

Later, Jack Draper marked his status as the new British men’s number one with a confident 6-3 6-2 win against Argentina’s Mariano Navone.

The 22-year-old won his first ATP title in Stuttgart on Sunday and continued his hot streak on the grass with a 55-minute victory against the world number 28.

Draper, who missed the British grass-court season last year through injury, set up a tantalising second-round encounter with reigning Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz on Thursday.

“We all know how good Carlos is, it’s an amazing match to test where I’m at. I can’t wait,” said Draper.

Elsewhere, compatriot Dan Evans had to retire with a knee injury after slipping during his opener against American opponent Brandon Nakashima.

There was better news for British number six Billy Harris, who earned the best win of his career by beating Argentine world number 32 Tomas Martin Etcheverry. –