FILE PHOTO: Aug 12, 2019; Mason, OH, USA; Andy Murray (GBR) serves against Richard Gasquet (FRA) during the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
(Reuters) – Former world number one Andy Murray will compete in his first Challenger Tour event in 14 years at next week’s Rafa Nadal Open in Mallorca, tournament organizers confirmed on Thursday.
The 32-year-old pulled out of the doubles event at the U.S. Open to focus on his singles comeback after undergoing career-saving hip resurfacing surgery.
Murray was beaten in straight sets by Richard Gasquet at the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month — his first singles match since an opening-round Australian Open exit in January.
He then lost to American Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open last week.
The three-times Grand Slam champion has now decided to step down to the second-tier for the first time since 2005, when he played in the Challenger event in Mons, Belgium as an 18-year-old.
World number 329 Murray is set to return to the ATP Tour with two tournaments in China — Zhuhai and Beijing — in September and October.
The Rafa Nadal Open in Manacor, Mallorca will be held from Aug. 26 to Sept. 1.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis