Skip to content

Wimbledon: Andy Murray puts on Centre Court show in front of the Princess of Wales and Roger Federer

Andy Murray missed the French Open to focus on his grass-court preparations, winning back-to-back Challenger Tour titles in Surbiton and Nottingham, and was rewarded with his first straight-sets win at Wimbledon since 2017 and his most convincing victory here in nine years

Britain's Andy Murray celebrates winning a point from Britain's Ryan Peniston during the first round men's singles match on day two of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Tuesday, July 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Image: Andy Murray put on a Centre Court show for the Princess of Wales and old foe Roger Federer

Andy Murray made a perfect start to his 15th Wimbledon singles campaign by putting on a Centre Court show for the Princess of Wales and old foe Roger Federer.

The two-time champion took apart fellow Briton Ryan Peniston with a 6-3 6-0 6-1 victory under the roof to ease into the second round.

Federer, whose career had been celebrated with a short video prior to the start of play, and the Princess of Wales made sure they were back in their seats in the front row of the Royal Box in time for the first shot of the match.

Sky Sports announce all-star line-up for US Open
Sky Sports announce all-star line-up for US Open

Tennis returns to Sky Sports with live coverage of the US Open. Sky Sports will have access to all individual court feeds, broadcasting a minimum of 135 hours, with Martina Navratilova, Tim Henman, Johanna Konta and Laura Robson

Murray was very pleased with his performance, saying: "Obviously it's amazing to be back here playing on Centre Court. I was quite nervous, coming out I wanted to play well.

"I started a little bit tentative but once I got the break I thought I played some good stuff as the match went on. There's some good signs there."

Asked if it was the best he has felt coming into Wimbledon since winning his second title in 2016, Murray said: "Probably. It's been a long time since I've felt physically this good coming into Wimbledon, which is really positive. The last years have been very challenging so I'm hoping I'm fit for a good run."

Federer gave Murray's performance a "very good", and the Scot added: "It was amazing to have some royalty here but also some tennis royalty.

Also See:

"Amazing to have Roger here supporting the event. The last time I was on this court and he was watching was during the Olympics and he sat in Stan Wawrinka's box against me. I hope you're doing well Roger and Mirka."

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with Andy Murray in the Clubhouse after the first round match in the Gentlemen's Singles against Ryan Peniston on day two of the 2023 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon. Picture date: Tuesday July 4, 2023.
Image: Murray invited Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to watch him play at Wimbledon

Sat just behind Federer in the Royal Box, at Murray's instigation, was former Iranian prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who the Scot was moved to learn had watched his 2016 triumph from her cell.

"It was very emotional talking to her and hearing her story," he said. "It was brilliant that she was able to come along and watch. I wanted to invite her to come along and watch the tennis in totally different circumstances."

I'm playing well enough to beat most of the players, I think, in the draw. Physically, I feel good.
Andy Murray talks up his Wimbledon chances

By starting a 15th campaign, Murray matched the open era record for a British man set by Jeremy Bates, and he would have taken confidence from knowing that in nearly 1,000 tour-level matches he had never lost to a player ranked as low as Peniston's 268.

The 27-year-old from Essex, who survived cancer as a toddler, settled well on his Centre Court debut and was the better of the two for much of the first set, but he was unable to take either of two early chances to break the Murray serve and paid for one loose game.

By the second set, the Scot, who went on to win the title after his only previous match against another British player here when he beat Liam Broady in 2016, was playing much better.

Peniston was still competing hard and pulling off some crowd-pleasing shots but Murray had cut out the unforced errors - 15 of his total of 24 came in the opening set - and was not giving his opponent anything.

By the time Peniston won another game, he had lost nine in a row and was 2-0 down in the third set, with Murray making just nine unforced errors across the last two sets.

Much more difficult tests will await, including the winner of the clash between fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem in the second round, but the crispness with which Murray struck the ball off the ground certainly bodes well.

Peniston vs Murray: Tale of the Tape

Peniston Match Stats Murray
2 Aces 5
4 Double Faults 0
62% 1st serve win percentage 76%
32% 2nd serve win percentage 59%
0/2 Break points won 7/13
9/16 Net points won 17/17
14 Total winners 21
35 Unforced errors 24
56 Total points won 88

Home is where the heart is for Murray

Andy Murray is the sixth player in the open era to secure more than 60 men's singles wins at Wimbledon (now 61) - along with Federer, Djokovic, Connors, Becker and Sampras.

The 36-year-old admitted to nerves at the beginning, and he said: "I didn't start the match how I would have liked. It's always different conditions playing under the roof.

"But, as the match went on, unforced errors, I cut them out. I was pretty ruthless at the beginning of the second and third sets. So I was pleased with everything, apart from the beginning."

Peniston managed to enjoy the experience, and spoke of Murray's chances saying: "I think the main thing that Andy did really well today was he was just relentless on every point - that's why the scoreline was like it was.

"He played really well today. Yeah, I think why not? Why can't he go and win it?"

Around Sky