It's been a while since three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray has played consistently, and even longer since he's played in front of crowds. He's hoping to be doing both by Wimbledon.
He's still not sure when he's playing next, but is entered for French Open qualifying and plans to be at Wimbledon, where he is a two-time champion and local favorite.
Even though he usually stays at his own home during the Championships, Murray backs tour protocols and would join other players at a "bubble" hotel, which the event will be requiring this year as part of its pandemic safety protocols. But he's hoping one thing will be the same: having the local crowds there to cheer him on.
"For me, it would make a huge difference. Hopefully, we can get some good crowds in,'' said Murray, speaking to British press. "We've heard 30 percent, but I don't know if that's 30 percent of their usual capacity but they'll be allowed to have Centre Court and Court One full."
Murray was only a little off, with the tournament announcing that it is aiming to have at least 25 percent of its usual capacity—and perhaps more.
"We very much hope 25 percent is a minimum position from which we can build. It is our absolute desire to enable as many people as possible to safely attend The Championships this year," said Sally Bolton, CEO of the All England Club.
Even that will be a big plus for Murray, who said, "At the beginning I didn't miss it that much, I was just pumped to be competing again.
"But that's kind of what you play for, to play in front of big crowds and play in great atmospheres. It's something that I've definitely missed."
Murray, who returned from a hip resurfacing procedure in 2019, wasn't competing regularly in 2020 because of injury problems and canceled tournaments, and this season hasn't got off to a smooth start, either.
First, the former No. 1 couldn't play the Australian Open upon contracting coronavirus, then started his season by reaching the final at a Challenger event in Biella, Italy. Returning to ATP Tour play, he fell in the first round in Montpellier and won his opener at Rotterdam. Having withdrawn from Dubai following the birth of his fourth child, Murray experienced a groin injury before Miami and hasn't played since.
"I need to be consistently practicing, [not] having these enforced breaks," Murray said. "That was the thing in December, why I think I got into such a good place was because of the two months of practicing basically six days a week every week for a couple of months.
"That's the first thing, is to be able to be on the practice court consistently and then I obviously need to get the matches."
Murray is No. 121 in the rankings.