Andy Murray returned to court as he steps up his preparation for a return to the main tour, but was beaten in the mixed doubles at the Battle of the Brits tournament.

The former world number one is intending to travel to the United States to compete at next month’s US Open in New York, along with a warm-up event in the week before the grand slam.

He has not played on the ATP Tour since winning the European Open in Antwerp last November as he suffered more injury problems, but returned to action at the singles version of the Battle of the Brits tournament a few weeks ago.

The Scot is only playing in the doubles at this mixed team exhibition event in Roehampton and was on the losing side as he and Jodie Burrage, representing the Union Jacks, were beaten by Joe Salisbury and Emma Radacanu of the British Bulldogs.

Murray and Burrage took the first set, but faltered from there to go down 4-6 6-4 10-8 as the Bulldogs opened up an 18-8 lead after day two.

Earlier, Dan Evans proved why he is currently the British number one with an impressive display to take down Kyle Edmund in straight sets, producing a clinical 6-4 6-4 win.

It has not taken long for rivalry to form in this mixed event, where 26 players from Britain are competing.

There were words exchanged at the end of the game when Evans was upset with the force at which Edmund touched his racket – a gesture which has replaced the handshake.

But Edmund played the incident down.

“It was nothing. He said he misinterpreted touching the rackets and stuff,” Edmund said. “There was nothing there. The racket touch is not that a big a deal to be honest.”

The teams were thrown together at random, but it has not taken long for competitiveness to come to the fore.

“12pm yesterday, that was when we started caring about the end result,” Edmund added. “Every match has been like that in terms of competitiveness.

“It is not like you are just going to play to get the practice, you are playing to try and win. When you add a team element, there is a natural feeling inside that takes away just playing to playing with a team, it is like an extra responsibility.”

Earlier in the day Johanna Konta fought back from an almost certain defeat against Katie Boulter.

British number one Konta, who was surprisingly beaten by Burrage on Monday, was staring down the barrel trailing by a set and 3-0, but forced an impressive comeback to win 2-6 7-6 10-6.

On her friendship with Boulter, Konta said: “I think you put that aside a little bit. Just last week we were just playing practice sets here.

“It’s not necessarily what it would feel like if we would be at a grand slam or at a WTA event.

“But I think more than anything it’s just to give both of us the chance to bring those competitive juices to the front, pretend we’re somewhere else and just bring some good tennis to the court.

“She started very well, but I felt like I was able to come to the party a bit as the match went on and I thought actually by the end we were playing some great tennis.”


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