Andy Murray confirms he will defend Queen's Club title
Aegon Championships Venue: Queen's Club, London Dates: 7-13 June Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Eurosport, BBC red button and BBC Sport website (UK users only). Full coverage details to follow.
Highlights - Murray 'king' of Queen's
Andy Murray has confirmed that he will defend his Aegon Championships title at London's Queen's Club next month.
The 22-year-old Scot beat James Blake last year to become the first British player since Henry 'Bunny' Austin in 1938 to win the grass-court title.
Murray will line up alongside Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick when the tournament starts on 7 June.
"If I play my best I've got a chance of successfully defending the title and doing well at Wimbledon," said Murray.
"I know it won't be easy because they are going to have a strong field this year at Queen's, and Wimbledon always has the best players in the world. It's a great time of the year though and I'm really looking forward to it.
I've had a lot of success at Queen's and I still say it is the best grass court in the world
Four-time champion Andy Roddick
"Last year at Queen's I played some really good tennis to win the tournament. The attendance every year is unbelievable, and last year the final was packed out and it was a great atmosphere."
Murray has won five matches and lost five since losing the Australian Open to Roger Federer in January.
It has seen his world ranking slip to number five, seen him take 10 days out in Barcelona - where he was coached as a junior - to reassess his game and prompted all manner of conjecture about what might have gone wrong.
But the Brit says he has now come through the difficulties of that period and will soon be back to his best.
"After the Australian Open I was fine mentally but physically, although I had no injures, I did have a few little niggles and a couple of things that were sore when I was practising which affected my training on and off the court," Murray told BBC Sport.
"Because of the way the Australian Open went, it was the best standard of tennis I have played and I only dropped one set on the way to reaching the final.
"I put so much effort into reaching the final, training over Christmas and training in Miami for two or three weeks beforehand to get ready for it.
"For a couple of weeks after that I needed to take some time off to take my mind of tennis and I feel a lot fresher now than I did then. It was tough for me.
"After Indian Wells I went through a bad patch, was struggling a bit mentally and was annoyed at myself because I wasn't putting in as much as maybe I should have been.
Highlights - Murray 'king' of Queen's
"I've started doing that again recently and I feel a lot happier and a lot more motivated because of it and I'm looking forward to the most important stretch of the year with the French Open and Wimbledon so close to each other."
The French Open will be Murray's next assault on Grand Slam glory, but he admits it is probably the least familiar surface of the four showpiece tournaments.
But Murray has revealed that in order to improve at Roland Garros he may increase the number of clay tournaments he plays in a calendar year.
"Because my clay court season is so short and because I'm not used to playing on it, it takes me a bit of time to get used to playing on clay," said Murray.
"So I may try and play a couple more clay court tournaments at different times of the year just to improve my game on it and keep my eye in."
After that Murray will turn his attention to the traditional Wimbledon warm-up event which boasts a hugely strong field this year, with the likes of US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, world number nine Fernando Verdasco and world number 10 Jo Wilfried Tsonga among the entrants.
However, Del Potro underwent wrist surgery in the United States on Tuesday and looks certain to miss the event.
Gael Monfils, Sam Querrey, Ivo Karlovic and Ernests Gulbis will add another layer of depth to the draw.
Nadal is keen to return as knee problems saw him miss the grass-court season last year, having beaten Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final just three weeks after winning at Queen's.
"This year there is even more motivation because I could not defend my titles last year," said the Spaniard.
"No-one was more disappointed than me that I couldn't play because I love those tournaments. It was an amazing feeling to win Queen's in 2008 and then to fulfil my dream by winning Wimbledon.
"To not defend my Wimbledon title last year was one of the toughest decisions in my career, but this is a new year and now I have the chance to go back to England and to compete on the grass again."
Roddick will be trying to win a record fifth title at Queen's Club after victories in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007.
"I've had a lot of success at Queen's and I still say it is the best grass court in the world," said the American. "It plays perfectly and so the Aegon Championships is a great way to prepare for Wimbledon.
"If you look at my grass-court season [in 2009] as a whole, it went well. It was disappointing to hurt my ankle in the semi-finals at Queen's and have to pull out, but I was playing well and I took that into Wimbledon."
Roddick went on to lose last year's Wimbledon final to Roger Federer in an epic match which was finally decided 16-14 in the fifth set after four hours and 17 minutes.
"The more you distance yourself from it, the more you start remembering the better things about it as opposed to the most disappointing things about it," said Roddick.
"For the crowd to kind of acknowledge my effort was real nice and I certainly appreciated it.
"I promise you, I wish more than anything that I would have won that tournament, but I'm still going to move on and keep going with the plan that we've set in place, because I feel like it is working.
"I'll always want to win that tournament and I view last year as something to build on."
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