British veteran Andy Murray returned to the stage where he has won Wimbledon twice for the first time since 2017 and didn’t disappoint his home fans on the opening night of The Championships.
The 34-year-old was the star of the show on a rain-affected day one at the All England Club, producing a dogged performance to eliminate 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili a four-set thriller on Centre Court.
The 2013 and 2015 Wimbledon winner was forced to regather himself after losing control of the match in the third set before a roof closure caused a 20-minute delay. But found a way to ensure the crowd of 7,500 went home happy, eventually prevailing 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
On a day where the tournament returned for the first time in 24 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was fitting the Scot produced a vintage performance that many never thought they would witness again given the severe hip injuries he has dealt with in recent years, which brought him to contemplate retirement at the start of 2019.
Now Murray and his metal hip are into the second round of Wimbledon, with punters daring to dream, forcing some English bookies to move Murray into the top handful of favourites to go all the way.
“I think I played well, you know, up to probably 5-3 in the third set. That's never happened to me before in my career, being three breaks, a serve up and two sets to love up. Never had that happen before. But, you know, they're the sort of things that can happen, like when you haven't played any matches,” Murray told reporters after the win.
“Then like at the end of the third set, I was starting to feel a little bit of fatigue and then I'm questioning, well, if I end up losing this set, you know, will I be okay to, like, to win in four sets or five sets?
“I definitely should have finished it up a lot sooner than what I did. I don't think there is that many players that would have won that fourth set.”
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