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Murray says priority is to play at U.S. Open and French Open

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Davis Cup Finals - Quarter-Final - Caja Magica, Madrid, Spain - November 22, 2019 Britain's Andy Murray reacts during the match between Kyle Edmund and Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber REUTERS/Sergio Perez

(Reuters) - Former world number one Andy Murray says he is looking forward to competing at the U.S. Open and French Open later this year but only if it is safe enough amid the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the sport in March.

The U.S. Open will be staged without fans as scheduled from Aug. 31-Sept. 13 in New York while the postponed French Open will be held from Sept. 27-Oct. 11.

Earlier this month, world number one Novak Djokovic said strict health protocols at the U.S. Open would prevent players from bringing more than one person on their support team to the venue but Murray said that was an arrangement he was fine with.

“Playing the Grand Slams would be my priority,” Murray was quoted as saying by British media on Monday. “I think the schedule is tricky and I understand the reason why it is like that.

“I don’t mind what the situation is, providing it is safe. If I was told I could take one person with me... you can make that work. I’d probably go with a physio and some coaching could be done remotely.”

The ATP and WTA Tours are set to resume in August but the spotlight is on the sport after Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric tested positive following their participation in Djokovic’s Adria Tour exhibition tournament.

Murray, 33, has not competed since playing in the Davis Cup in November due to complications with his hip but is set to return on Tuesday at a behind-closed-doors tournament in London, the ‘Battle of the Brits’, organised by his brother Jamie.

“My hip has been feeling better for probably the past three or four weeks. It feels better than it did in March,” he added.

“Right now, I feel a little bit more confident because I’ve had more training under my belt, more practice. In March time, I’d only been practising for four or five weeks since I’d had the issues.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris