It was a ‘To Be Arranged’ match but everyone knew that sometime late Thursday afternoon, British fans would be seeing their hero back in action on the sacred lawns of the All England Club.
Great to get the win. Andy Murray
Last January, the Australian Open provided what seemed the last rights to our tennis Knight of the Realm but he promised to fight back and if he had to accept retirement because of his bad hip, it would take place at Wimbledon.
As history now records, he had an operation to rectify the problem and over the last six months recuperated to the extent that Andy Murray returned to the tour as a doubles player to give his hip a proper test, and immediately picked up the Queen’s title with Feliciano Lopez.
Now, a couple of weeks later he has made his much-awaited return to his favourite event, The Championships, and, on a virtually packed No.1 Court in partnership with Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, successfully the pair opened their 2019 campaign with a four set victory over Romanian Marius Copil and another Frenchman, Ugo Humbert won after two-hours and 30-minutes, 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-0.
It took the first set for the pair to gell together but once they got used to each other, it became evident that the two-time singles champion and his grand slam winning doubles partner who, with Nicolas Mahut had already won all the four majors, were going to be a pair to be reckoned with.
They were broken twice in the opening set, but that was as good as it got for Copil and Humbert for, as the understanding between Murray and Herbert grew, the pair gained control and never looked back.
“It was nice,” said Murray. “I mean I was a little bit nervous at the start (he lost his opening service game) but got better as the match went on.
“It was a really nice atmosphere at the end with the new roof closed (for the fourth set as the light faded) and the crowd make more noise. Great to get the win.”
The 32-year old Scot admitted that having not played with Herbert before it had taken time to get to know each other in competitive conditions.
“It is tough but as the match went on, we got more comfortable and were reading each other’s games better. As it went on, we set each other up with great returns and moved well at the net.”
Hebert revealed that his former partner, Mahut, had been disappointed at losing him as they were an excellent and successful team, and, when asked how he would mark his new partner’s performance, replied with a smile: “It is tough to give a mark to Andy as he won here in singles and that is much harder than winning in doubles. He played well as the match went on and by the end we were much more of a team.”
Murray’s last appearance at Wimbledon was in 2017 and 722 days have passed since he last performance, and one which was played in great discomfort. Now, following what he referred to as life-changing surgery, he is moving around freely, and it was very evident he was enjoying and relishing every moment of the journey he is undertaking to revive his career with hopes of playing singles possibly later in the summer.
For the present it is doubles and Friday will see him back in action, this time in the Mixed event with another great champion, Serena Williams.