TIM HENMAN last night dismissed the notion that Andy Murray will have different priorities if and when he makes his full return to the singles tour. Scotland’s three-time Grand Slam winner put a little meat on the bone as regards to his future plans yesterday as he stepped up his preparations for his competitive return in the doubles at next week’s Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club.

All being well, the 32-year-old plans to play doubles at Queen’s, Eastbourne and Wimbledon – although he won’t partner his big brother Jamie as he knows the prospect a last-minute withdrawal would also torpedo his brother’s chances. He has pencilled in a full return sometime after this autumn’s US Open, perhaps on the hard court swing out in Asia, although Glasgow also just happens to be hosting a hard-court event called the Murray Trophy from September 16-22.

If and when he finally returns to the main tour, his friend Henman – speaking as he participates in this weekend’s Brodies Tennis Invitational event at the Gleneagles Arena – poured scorn on the notion given by the 32-year-old himself in an interview with Amazon Prime Video last week that he would be a less-winning obsessed figure, more inclined to take time away from the practice court to see the world. The impression that his return to the ATP circuit would be some kind of “sight-seeing tour” wasn’t one he gained when he hit with Andy and Jamie at Queen’s Club on Monday.

“Ha! Do you believe that?” said the Englishman. “A leopard doesn’t change his spots. I was always the one who was guilty of giving the right answer rather than the honest answer. And I listened to that from Andy, thinking I would be sitting in the back of the room chuckling and thinking: “I’ll believe that when I see it.

“That’s his character, he’s competitive. The fact that he’s a competitive animal is why he’s been so successful. Hitting with him on Monday, I can tell you he’s going to be out there to win, that’s for sure. He’s not going to be there on some sight-seeing tour.”

What was undeniable, though, from that hit on Monday is that the Scot is experiencing less pain than he has done for years, and consequently is enjoying himself far more. While there will be a mental as well as physical dimension to his recovery, Henman cautioned talk of him ever making it back to win a fourth Grand Slam title, a feat which he said would surpass anything Tiger Woods or Roger Federer ever achieved as the greatest sporting comeback of all time.

“If he was to come back and win a Slam, that would be the greatest of all time,” said Henman. “But I think that’s going to be very, very difficult. Just given his environment and the competition. It was hard enough to win one when he was younger and at the top of his game. And all those guys [Djokovic, Nadal, Federer] are still there. For me, it would be amazing if he could get back playing on the main Tour, top 50 – and then go from there.”

In the short term, for Andy like his brother – who he could face at Queen’s Club – it is simply worth assessing his prospects in the doubles. Unsure for now who he will be playing with, Queen’s partner Feliciano Lopez could partner him at Eastbourne not Wimbledon - certainly poses a problem for Henman in his role on the Wimbledon scheduling committee. Let’s just say there would be health and safety issues if the Scot was scheduled for one of the outside courts. Even more so in the event the two Murray brothers are doing battle. “Where do we put him? Third on court eight is probably not going to fit the bill, is it?

I hit with Andy and Jamie on Monday at Wimbledon, just doing a lot of doubles drills,” Henman added. “It’s great to see him back on the court. He’s been doing a lot of static stuff but now he’s doing more movement.

“It’s still doubles stuff but lateral movement. He’s in a better place physically – but in a much, much better place mentally. Certain movements, he’s not as quick yet. There will be a mental element, being out on the court again. But the physical side is different in doubles, half the court, not many extended rallies. It’s a nice stepping stone for him.

"Who knows what the progression will be with regard to singles? Will he be able to get back to the right level? He doesn’t know, we don’t know. He’s the one who has to find out. But he will be determined – and it’s tough to doubt him. When you think about it, he made the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2017 – on one leg. He was two sets to one up against Sam Querrey on one leg. But the reality is he hasn’t played for two years. And that was when he was 29, 30.

"You think about [Andre] Agassi, for example, who had a year-and-a-half off in the middle of his career, when his ranking went right down. If Andy can come back physically, that will help him mentally. The challenge is, on a scale of 1-10, he was a 10. How close can he get to that?”