Andy Murray will be hoping the rain relents long enough to start his reunion with coach Ivan Lendl in winning style after bad weather hampered the opening day at Queen’s Club on Monday.
Murray has resumed his relationship with Lendl two years after they parted ways and the United States-based Czech is due to fly into London in time for the world number two’s first round match against Nicolas Mahut on Tuesday.
With Wimbledon looming later this month, winning the warm-up event at Queen’s for a record fifth time would be the ideal preparation for Murray, but the 29-year-old could face a frustrating week as the forecast calls for more rain on Tuesday and throughout the week in west London.
On Monday, French fourth seed Richard Gasquet and his American opponent Steve Johnson were forced to scurry on and off court countless times as showers wreaked havoc with the schedule.
But when play finally resumed late in the evening, Gasquet must have wished the rain was still pouring as the world number 10 slumped to a shock 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 defeat.
Gasquet, a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year, had led comfortably in the first set, but he lost his rhythm completely as world number 53 Johnson swept into the second round in the only completed match of the day.
Once the rain finally eases, the spotlight this week will be on Murray, who hasn’t won a Grand Slam since breaking up with Lendl.
In their two years together, Murray became the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title for 77 years in 2013 after landing the 2012 US Open and a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.
But as this month’s French Open final loss against Novak Djokovic showed, Murray has developed a habit of falling short against the world number one -- who has won 13 of their last 15 encounters since the Scot’s partnership with Lendl dissolved due to the 56-year-old’s refusal to commit extra time to the job.
After joining forces with Swiss world number five Stan Wawrinka as a coach for the grass-court season, former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek is taking a close interest in the revival of the Murray-Lendl double act and he believes it could be a game changer at the All England Club.
“Yeah, could well be. Because he was so close at the French and he just needs a little bit more -- maybe Lendl, just having him there, maybe that’s the last piece of the jigsaw he needs,” Krajicek told reporters at Queen’s on Monday.
“It’s really close. I think he (Murray) also believes that or he would not ask him to come back.”
Krajicek, who defeated MaliVai Washington to win his only Grand Slam at the All England Club in 1996, is the latest ‘celebrity’ coach to join forces with a top player and the 44-year-old Dutchman is relishing the chance to emulate the success of Lendl with Murray and Boris Becker with Djokovic.
Wawrinka will open his Queen’s challenge against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco and Krajicek said: “Like with Becker, it can be a little bit extra confidence. Sometimes you can give a little strategy on how to play on the surface or maybe that you recognise certain difficulties. Maybe that happened with Murray and Lendl.
“Stan said he has a feeling I can add to his game and Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam he never made the semi-final.
“Most important, he was open and he was ambitious to do well.”