Un­der­dog bids to top­ple Mur­ray in bat­tle of the Brits

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Han­nah Fur­ness

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

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