Underdog bids to topple Murray in battle of the Brits
ONE is among the most famous sportsmen on the planet, with 36 career titles, ranked world number two and winning £34m in prize money.
The other was living out of his car last year, a promising youngster who enjoyed a few encouraging training matches with his latest opponent.
So it’s no wonder Andy Murray’s first Wimbledon match against Liam Broady could be considered “a bit strange”.
Murray, Britain’s most successful tennis player, will play Broady, ranked 234, a Wimbledon wildcard and one of the new generation he has helped to mentor. The pair will play tomorrow after James Ward and Laura Robson make their bids for British glory as the tournament opens today.
Broady described it as a “David and Goliath situation” and the tennis equivalent of “Stockport winning the Premier League in one season from the Vanarama North”.
Murray said: “It will be interesting. Obviously [playing another Briton at Wimbledon] never happened before, for me anyway. I know Liam fairly well. We practised a bit earlier this year, around sort of February/March time. He’s a good guy, works hard.
“Look forward to it. But, I mean, it will be a bit strange – it’s never happened before for me.”
Speaking of Ward, the world number 177 who faces Novak Djokovic today, Murray added: “He’s getting the chance to play against the best player in the world on Centre Court. If you aren’t excited or pumped for that, then you’re playing the wrong sport.”
Fans queued from 6am on Saturday in the hope of securing tickets. Some erected tents to sleep on the pavement outside the ground despite a forecast suggesting the two-week tournament could see rain every day.
Fans included Stuart Bere, 41, a gardener from Lincolnshire, who has queued at every Wimbledon for 24 years, who arrived 55 hours early.
Bridget Byrns, 63, a retired childcare co-ordinator from south London, joined at 9am on Saturday, saying: “It’s certainly not comfy on the pavement – but we’re looking forward to cheering Murray, which will boost the national mood after Brexit.”
It has been a bumper year for British players, with 15 in the singles draws, the most since 2006, in what has been called the “halo effect” around Murray’s success.
His mother Judy Murray offered some last-minute advice, telling him to “keep your head down and just take one match at a time”.
“If he produces his best form then he is obviously going to be one of the contenders,” she said.
Liam Broady, left, a Wimbledon wildcard, will play Andy Murray in the first round