Of all the incredible experiences he has felt in a glorious career, when Andy Murray returns to action in singles at Wimbledon on Tuesday, the Scot will do so with a mixture of emotions he never thought he would feel again.

The 34-year-old, the champion at Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016, and with a metal hip in tow, is back at the scene of his greatest triumph, playing in the singles event for the first time since 2017.

Just being back on a tennis court is little short of a miracle for Murray, whose last experience at Wimbledon in singles four years ago was a painful one, as he limped through to the quarter-finals before falling to Sam Querrey.

A hip operation in early 2018 didn’t do what he had hoped and after a brief return, a second operation in 2019 looked likely to end a career that has brought him three Grand Slam titles, two Olympic gold medals, Davis Cup glory and the No 1 ranking.

But having returned to Wimbledon in doubles and mixed in 2019, and despite his metal hip and a niggling groin injury that has hampered his progress since he is back at Wimbledon, and can’t wait.

“I think I’ll be excited,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll be nervous as well. It’ll be great. I’ve missed playing at Wimbledon, playing at the majors, really. I obviously missed the Australian Open this year, and the French Open. 

"The US Open last year was fun and it was great to be back out there competing in a major but with no fans, it just felt a bit empty. It’s not the same. So I  feel lucky that I’m getting another chance to do it and hopefully I can put in a solid performance.”

Ranked 119 and in the tournament thanks to a wildcard, Murray’s expectations are not as high as they were before surgery, of course.

But the Scot, who returned to action after a three-month lay off when he played at Queen’s Club earlier this month, said he knows that when he steps out – surely on Centre Court – for his first-round match against Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, things will quickly change.

“I think I can do well,” he said. “I don’t think there are that many guys who are unbelievably comfortable on the grass – so that plays in my favour. And obviously a lot of the younger guys didn’t get the opportunity to play on it last year.

“I practised with someone like (Jannik) Sinner – he’s played four matches on grass in his life because he didn’t play juniors and he didn’t play last year so that’s something that will work in my favour hopefully. But we’ll just need to see how it all plays out.”

At the peak of his powers, like in 2016 when he won Wimbledon and almost everything else in the second half of the year to become world No 1 for the first time, Murray was all business, chasing the wins and the titles.

Now, after all he’s been through, he’s trying to appreciate things more, take in the adulation of the fans.

“I just wish I’d done that more during my career,” he said. “Just being a little bit more present.

“I think often I kind of got into a zone the week before Wimbledon. I was always very stressed but I was always in tunnel vision in the build-up to it and I maybe didn’t appreciate that week as much. 

“I wasn’t just present enough – I was always just thinking about the tournament and going far and trying to win the event and everything rather than just enjoying it a little bit more.

“I’ll obviously try and do that this week but I’m sure the closer the tournament gets, my competitive instincts will kick in and I’ll want to be…all my focus will be turning to the matches again.”

Murray says he wished he’d had the surgery sooner and would love to have a run of matches and tournaments, injury-free, so he can see how far his tennis will take him.

Memories of 2017, and that run to the last eight despite the immense pain he was suffering, are also giving him hope. 

“I don’t know how I did that,” he said. “That was one of my better achievements – to make the quarters that year and get close to the semis. Probably one of the reasons why I still feel like I can do well.

“I’m in good shape and stuff and you know I think at Queens I don’t think I moved much worse. I was in less pain at Queen’s last week than I was in 2017. I think I moved relatively well so that’s a positive.”

And though his days of winning Grand Slam singles titles may be over, Murray is determined that he has more years left in him yet, if his body allows.

“I mean, I don’t want it to be my last Wimbledon,” he said. “ That’s not my plan. “I’m not going into Wimbledon thinking I’m saying goodbye. I want to keep going and I want to keep playing.

“Obviously I don’t know. If I got a significant injury or whatever, then that would obviously change things. But I guess that’s the case with most players when they get into their sort of mid 30s. I’m still planning on playing for as long as I can so I hope that’s not the case.”

After everything he has achieved in tennis, and for British tennis, Murray deserves the chance to play on as long as he wants. This time, though, he’ll try to enjoy it too.

Andy Murray is an ambassador and investor in HALO Hydration which is now available in the UK at HALOHydration.com