Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Andy Murray’s farewell at Wimbledon begins with loss alongside brother Jamie Murray

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Wimbledon has been the scene of many of the defining moments of Murray’s career and the emotional ties are why he fought so hard to play one final time.

Murray’s chances of a last hurrah had been thrown into serious doubt.

A back issue caused a loss of power and feeling in his right leg during a match at Queen’s three weeks ago.

The only option was an operation on 22 June to remove a cyst close to his spine, but it left Murray in a race against time to be fit.

Ultimately, having left making a decision until the night before his scheduled singles match on Tuesday, he realised with a heavy heart it was not possible to play a five-set match.

Going out alongside 38-year-old Jamie in the shorter doubles format was the next best thing.

The plan, which was initially put in place around the French Open in late May, did come to fruition.

Not since 1995 had a men’s doubles first-round match been put on Centre Court.

This occasion could not have been scheduled anywhere else.

Murray reached his first Wimbledon final in 2012, losing to Roger Federer in an four-set match which left him in tears and changed public perception about him.

Redemption came when he won Olympic singles gold on the same court against the same opponent four weeks later.

A year on, Murray ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s singles champion by beating world number one Djokovic in a moment of national celebration.

Another triumph at the All England Club came in 2016, which he says he enjoyed more.

After both victories, Murray walked back through the marbled corridors of Centre Court – like tradition dictates – and was given a guard of honour before stepping on to the balcony to greet the adoring fans below.

The same ceremonial walk was made by Murray again on Thursday night.

While Murray had not won the trophy again, it was the only farewell – of sorts – fit for a player who has led British tennis with distinction.

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