Andy Murray occasionally likes to dwell on memorable victories, especially at Wimbledon which he regards as his sanctuary – yet he says he rarely looks back at his finest achievement there, winning the title in 2013.
He will be back at the All England Club in a fortnight, buoyed by reaching the semi-finals of the French Open last weekend, although he lost there again to Novak Djokovic, who also beat him in the final in Melbourne. Wimbledon, though, is the scene of his most emphatic win over the Serb, in three nervy sets, to break the stranglehold of history that was choking the life out of British tennis since Fred Perry’s pre-war glory days.
Murray will have his reasons for not gorging on sentimentality but would only say: “That is one of the matches, I don’t know why, that I have hardly watched at all. I’ve watched bits of the match but not extended periods.
“It’s more the Olympics. I’ve watched my match with Novak at the Olympics a couple of times, and the final with Roger [Federer] quite a few times, rather than Wimbledon.”
Amateur psychologists may say it was such a nerve-racking experience, it brings more trauma than comfort to revisit. Whatever, Murray looks and sounds in fine shape after recovering from a virus that temporarily closed his left eye after Roland Garros.
“I spent time with the dogs, watched a bit of TV and stayed off the internet,” he said. “I just got away from everything, a few days at home being with Kim. Since we got married, I spent maybe one or two days at home after I got back from Rome. It was nice not to have to do anything for those few days.”
For the nation, summer is an exercise in cloud-watching and luxuriating in the sporting excellence of others. For Murray, summer properly starts at Queen’s on Tuesday when, in pursuit of his fourth Aegon Championships title, he plays the Chinese Taipei outsider Lu Yen-hsun, a match that offers the extremes of cakewalk or disaster.
While it is unthinkable he world No3 could lose for a second time to a 31-year-old qualifier who caught him off-guard in two quick sets at the Beijing Olympics seven years ago, grass is a slippery assignment in more ways than one – even if the current dampness in the air will surely disappear by the time they get on court.
Lu beat the Uzbek Denis Istomin 7-6, 7-6 on Sunday to go through to the main draw here. He and the rest of the reduced field of 32 will not lack for financial incentive.
A tournament upgraded to ATP 500 status has attracted eight of the world’s best 14 players, with prize money pretty much doubled to €1,574,640 (£1,140,000). The winner gets €1,221,760.
Rafael Nadal will be among the main contenders, having rejuvenated his flagging season with a first win on grass since winning Wimbledon five years ago by beating Victor Troicki in an hour-and-a-half in the Stuttgart final on Sunday. He plays Alexandr Dolgopolov on Tuesday.
On the opening day on Monday, the British wildcard James Ward plays the Canadian No3 seed, Milos Raonic, and the defending champion, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, faces the American Sam Querrey.
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