THERE is an elephant in the room at the Glasgow Trophy at Scotstoun this week. In fact, so giant and under-occupied is the press lounge tournament organisers have arranged at the event that you could pretty much fit an elephant into the room.

The upgrade in facilities at this venue, of course, was undertaken on the perfectly-understandable contingency that Andy Murray might have decided that his hip, just four months on from hip surgery in Australia, was fit enough to make a first competitive return to a tennis court since last year’s Wimbledon quarter final. Lord knows tournament organisers would have got it in the neck if Scotland’s tennis superstar had decided to play and they had been ill-prepared to give him the welcome he deserved.

While there is plenty of other stuff for visitors to get their teeth into without the 30-year-old – Andy’s pal James Ward and his young protégé Aidan McHugh were in action yesterday, while Dan Evans’ return from a drugs ban drew a decent crowd for both the tribunes and the press lounge - the Scot’s wise decision to delay his return gives us a glimpse into the strange altered sense of reality we are likely to witness around the sport as we approach the period in the year where tennis traditionally dominates our attention.

Since he burst onto the scene back at Wimbledon 2005 - cruising a couple of rounds and then taking a two-sets to love lead against David Nalbandian before cramping up and losing in five sets – Andy Murray quite simply has been a staple of the Scottish, and British sporting, summer. This reached its apogee in 2016, as he breezed to his second Wimbledon title, good-naturedly fending off questions about his determination to put a smile back on the face of the nation after England lost to Iceland in the Euros.

Lord knows he would put a smile back on the face of the nation if he could spring, Lazarus-like, to complete a hat-trick of Wimbledon wins this summer. But when you consider the range of factors pitted against him, this kind of success story would be of the order of Goran Ivanisevic served his way to glory in 2001, ranked No 125 and still SW19’s only wild card winner. Murray might not require a wild card, but considering he is a two-time winner and was ranked World No 1 as recently as last August, it takes some getting your head round the fact the 30-year-old will be unseeded at Wimbledon and at the mercy of the draw for the first time since 2006.

While the Wimbledon seedings committee have a magic formula to concoct their 32 nominated seeds (while other slams import the APT rankings wholesale, the All England Club double the points earned at grass tournaments in the past year and add on 75% of the points earned on grass the previous year), Murray is ranked 39th in the world already and that position will tumble still further as he sits out the remainder of the clay court season. Not least Roland Garros, a venue where he reached the semi-finals 12 months back. While he could make an 11th hour decision to play the Loughborough tournament on May 19, it could yet be another five weeks until he returns to action, and the Rosmalen tournament in Den Bosch in the Netherlands, between June 11 and 19. This would mark his first ever grass court event on foreign soil.

Ideally, come Wimbledon, the Scot has a good run in the Netherlands and another at Queen’s Club under his belt. But the parameters of his SW19 experience could still be drastically different. Instead of Kazakh lucky loser Alex Bublik, his opening opponent as top seed last year, there is nothing to stop Murray being pitted straight into a first round meeting with Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic (current World No 12). Even if neither of those would be delighted about such a turn of events either. Things don’t get any easier any time soon, with just one Grand Slam – the US Open – to go before all four majors drop from 32 seeds to 16 for 2019.

One thing at a time, though. Murray is correct to simply prioritise getting better each day, back to the standard he feels will give him a chance of being competitive against the big hitters. Much has changed since he hirpled off Centre Court against Sam Querrey last summer. But having recreated Fred Perry’s glory years of the 1930s, Andy Murray’s next task is to turn back the clock all over again.