ANDY Murray is on schedule to return to the practice court later this month and could be back in match action before originally anticipated.

The 30-year-old, who underwent surgery on his hip in Australia in January, hasn’t played any competitive match since limping out of the Wimbledon quarter finals against Sam Querrey last July.

While he had originally scheduled the grass court season, and the Queen’s Club event in early June in particular as his return date, there were positive noises from the player’s camp last night that he could be back sooner than that if everything goes well.

Since going under the knife, the former World No 1 has been undergoing rehab on the static bike, Versa Climber, and doing weights and pilates sessions. No date has yet been set for his return to the practice court but the next step is gradually increasing the intensity of his work outs and getting in some warm weather training. It is possible that his young countryman Aidan McHugh could get an invite to join him.

As promising as the news is, there still seems little prospect of seeing the Scot in action on a clay court this season, as it would seem a huge risk to expose his re-structured joint to the surface. The grass court campaign has been extended these days, with fully three weeks of tournaments on the grass before Wimbledon gets under way on July 2.