Murray's return starts with a win at Rennes challenger this week, plus wildcard for ATP events "to play as much as possible"

Andy Murray has gone from playing in front of big crowds at Arthur Ashe stadium to playing a challenger event this week at Rennes.

The 34-year-old took No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in a fiery first-round encounter at the US Open, and though he was unhappy with the defeat and his opponent's long bathroom breaks during the encounter, he was pleased with his level.

"I was really happy with the way I played and also the way I recovered," he told Ouest France in an interview. "My training has been good for a while, and it was good to get to reproduce that in competition."

Murray now wants "to play as much as possible" following frequent layoffs with illness and injury. The three-time Grand Slam champion and former No.1 returned in 2019 from hip-resurfacing surgery, and has played just a few events this season.

"I really appreciate being back on court," he said.

Murray's other goal is to improve his ranking so he doesn't have to keep playing top seeds in the first round.

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Murray took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets at the US Open.

Murray took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets at the US Open.

"I still feel I can play a very high level. Every time I go to a tournament, I play a top player at the start. It's not easy," he said, as quoted by the Rennes challenger website.

Murray got off to a good start, winning his first round at the event where Richard Gasquet and Lucas Pouille are also on the comeback trail.

"A lot of good players are at challengers, but here it's special. Three [former] Top 10 players," Murray said. I want to try to win the tournament. "But the goal is to play, to get my body used to playing 2-3 matches a week again."

Murray has also taken a wildcard in Metz, an ATP event next week, and San Diego, a new ATP event that starts in two weeks, in a further bid to improve his ranking and get more competitive play.

But this week he is a big attraction at Rennes, where more than 2,000 showed up to watch him play the first round. That's more than it would get for the finals with a regular field, according to local press.

"It's great," he said.

Murray is the No. 5 seed in the Rennes field.