Glasgow will play host to a new $100,000 ATP Challenger Tour event at the end of next month, which could see Andy Murray make his return to action in his home city after a hip operation in January, writes Stewart Fisher and Susan Egelstaff.

Murray hasn’t played in a competitive match since last July. He had previously stated his intention to return for the grass court season at Queen’s Club but with rehabilitation on the hip said to be progressing well, a recent statement said he may be prepared to return to action earlier than planned.

The Glasgow tournament is one of two new events for 2018 announced by the Lawn Tennis Association yesterday.

Scotstoun Tennis Centre will host the tournament at the end of April while the second will be held at the Loughborough University Tennis Centre in May with both featuring a 32-player singles main draw and

32 qualifying draws with a doubles draw of 16 teams

These tournaments come ahead of the biggest and most prestigious events in the British tennis calendar, The Queen’s Club Championships, Eastbourne International and Wimbledon.

The announcement will come as a timely boost to a number of Scotland’s young players who are currently trying to work their way up the world rankings.

In particular, men’s singles player Aidan McHugh has made a significant mark on the junior circuit, including reaching the semi-finals of the boys singles at the Australian Open earlier this year and, as he attempts to make the transition into the senior ranks, the opportunity to compete on home soil will surely be a welcome one.

LTA Head of Men’s Tennis and Davis Cup Captain Leon Smith was delighted with the development. “It’s great news that we’re creating more playing opportunities for British players in the UK,” the Scot said.

“These Challenger events are invaluable in providing high quality match experience as well as the opportunity to build up important ATP ranking points.

“Hopefully we can see some high-level performances from our Brits at these events.”

And Oliver Scadgell, LTA Director of Major Events and Competitions was equally pleased, saying: “We are delighted to add new playing opportunities at home for GB players, bringing high-level men’s tennis to Glasgow and Loughborough. These two new events enhance our domestic calendar of International Tournaments in 2018, which consists of 12 ITF Pro-Circuit tournaments (6 x men’s and 6 x women’s) ranging in prize money from $15,000 to $25,000, in addition to the grass court Trophy Series which sees three events for men at Surbiton, Nottingham and Ilkley and four for women at Surbiton, Manchester, Ilkley and Southsea.