Andy Murray thrilled to be back in action after missing French Open
World No. 2 missed Roland Garros with back problem
Murray won both matches Thursday to make quarterfinals at Queen's Club
Briton reached final of last year's Wimbledon and won Olympic gold at same venue
Andy Murray has spent much of the past few weeks watching the action unfold on the television – but the World No.2 says his injury-enforced absence has rekindled his passion for tennis.
The Briton, who reached the final at Wimbledon last year, returned to Queen’s Club Thursday to finish off his rain delayed game with Nicolas Mahut before sweeping aside Australia’s Marinko Matosevic 6-2 6-2 in 56 minutes.
And after shrugging off a recurrence of the back injury which he suffered at the Rome Masters in May, Murray is far more grateful for the time he spends on court after being forced to withdraw from the French Open.
“I think it can be easy to take things for granted sometimes,” Murray told reporters.
“You know, I played pretty much every Slam for about seven years and I missed it. It was difficult watching and not being there.
“You realize how much you love competing and you love being around the tournaments.
“When everything is good and you’re healthy and you’re playing every week you don’t often think about it that much.
“And when you’re away from it and you miss one of the biggest tournaments, one of the tournaments you prepare extremely hard for and put the hard work in for, then it’s tough.
“I was really looking forward to getting back on the court again and hopefully I can have a good week.”
Murray was beaten by Roger Federer in the final at Wimbledon just over 12 months ago but got revenge on the Swiss by taking Olympic gold in fine fashion.
And after coming through the best part of two games in a single day, the 26-year-old is confident he’s well on the way to regaining full fitness.
“I feel good. That was what was most pleasing about the matches,” Murray said.
“There was a lot of stops and starts on Wednesday, having to warm up and cool down and stuff.
“But everything felt good and I woke up this morning with no real stiffness, which is good.
“I thought I moved pretty well. Normally the first couple of matches here the court is quite slippery, and that’s something I have struggled with the last few years.
“This time I haven’t slipped down once. That has been a good sign.”
Murray, who will be back on court Friday to face Germany’s Benjamin Becker in the quarterfinals, added: “I probably feel a bit more confident coming into this grass court season because of how I played on it last year.
“I think because I managed to win some big matches and play well on the grass last year, I know what I did well and what I need to keep doing.”
Elsewhere, Lleyton Hewitt continued his impressive run of form with a 5-7 6-3 6-4 win over American Sam Querrey.
Hewitt, 32, will face former U.S. Open winner Juan Martin del Potro, who needed less than an hour to see off British wildcard Dan Evans.
Second seed Tomas Berdych eased through to the last eight with a 6-3 6-4 win over Slovenia’s Grega Zemlja and will now face defending champion Marin Cilic.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was forced to play two three set matches in one day to book his place in the quarterfinals and a meeting with America’s Denis Kudla.
Tsonga, seeded fourth, defeated fellow Frenchman, Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-3 6-7 6-3 early Thursday before seeing off Dutchman Igor Sijsling 7-5 5-7 6-3.
Elsewhere, Tommy Haas continued the defense of his title at the Halle Open by reaching the last eight with a straight sets win over Ernests Gulbis.
Haas will play Gael Monfils for a place in the last eight.
There were also wins for 2011 champion Philipp Kohlschreiber and France’s Richard Gasquet.