Wimbledon the perfect chance for Murray to get back on track

Reigning champion and home favourite Andy Murray will get his bid for a third Wimbledon title underway in London on Monday under a twin cloud.

Murray’s build up for the tournament has been hampered by both injury and a loss of form that have raised questions about his ability to defend his crown.

After a shock loss to Australian qualifier Jordan Thompson in the first round at Queens the Scot has been prevented from taking part in two hastily arranged exhibition matches by a nagging hip injury.

And although he has declared himself fit, serious doubts remain about his form.

Bar a run to the semi-finals in Paris, where he lost to Stan Wawrinka, Murray has lost four of his last five matches.

The recent announcement that his wife is expecting the couple’s second child may also prove a distraction for the champion.

Murray opens his tournament against Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, and should make short work of the 135th ranked 20-year old as long as his injury doesn’t come into play, but a successful defence of his crown looks a long way off at this moment.

Also in action in the men’s draw on Monday is the in-form Rafael Nadal, who faces Australia’s John Millman, while the man who Nadal blew away in the final at Roland Garros last month – Stan Wawrinka – meets 21-year old Russian and Queen’s Club quarterfinalist Daniil Medvedev.

Expect both Nadal and Stan to progress without too much trouble.

Asia’s great hope Kei Nishikori, meanwhile, goes up against Italy’s 102-ranked Marco Cecchinato and should also reach the next round if it goes according to form.

For the ladies, the absence of defending champion Serena Williams means the draw is as open as any time in recent years.

With world number one Angelique Kerber struggling and no other player in dominant form we could be on for another surprise winner in the vein of Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

Petra Kvitova, meanwhile, will be hoping to transform her recent win at the Aegon Classic into a third title in London following successes in 2011 and 2014, although it might be a case of too much too soon on her recovery from a knife attack earlier this year.

Kvitova opens her campaign against Johanna Larsson of Sweden.

Another Johanna, one with dreams of success, also arrives in SW19 full of optimism.

British number one and sixth seeded Johanna Konta has yet to make a Grand Slam final, her closest being the semis at last year’s US Open, but is a serious contender as long as her recent injury is behind her.

Konta faces a tough opener against her Roland Garros conqueror Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan, who is guaranteed to push Konta to the limit and test if she is truly over her injury.

Second seed Simona Halep, fourth seed Elina Svitolina and Ostapenko also get their campaigns underway on a busy first day that is sure to produce a surprise or two.