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Andy Murray Starts Wimbledon Farewell Tour with Doubles Defeat, Emotional Tribute

Andy Murray Starts Wimbledon Farewell Tour with Doubles Defeat, Emotional Tributeillustration

Andy Murray's farewell tour at Wimbledon began with an emotional evening marked by tears, standing ovations, and a video tribute featuring messages from tennis legends Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Venus Williams. The two-time Wimbledon singles champion played a doubles match alongside his brother, Jamie Murray, as part of his farewell.

The Murrays lost 7-6 (6), 6-4 in the first round of men's doubles against Rinky Hijikata and John Peers. However, the result seemed secondary to the occasion.

“The match itself, it was tough, physically. It was hard for me. ... I was fortunate I was even able to get on the court to play,” said Murray, who had surgery to remove a cyst from his spine less than two weeks ago, forcing him to withdraw from singles.

“It was pretty emotional,” the 37-year-old Murray said about the post-match tribute. “Watching the video was nice, but hard as well, for me. Because you know it's coming to the end of something that you absolutely loved doing for such a long time. So that was difficult.”

This marked the first time a men's doubles first-round match was played on Centre Court in nearly 30 years, a fitting start to his farewell.

Murray, a 37-year-old from Scotland, has announced his plans after playing at the All Club, where he is also entered in mixed doubles with 2021 U.S. Open winner Emma Raducanu, and the Paris Olympics later this month.

“I'm ready to finish playing,” Murray said, “because I can't play to the level I want to anymore.”

Murray occasionally showed signs of discomfort with his back but also displayed moments of his former prowess, such as a forehand return winner that prompted a celebratory scream after going up a break at 2-0 in the second set.

This was the first time the Murray siblings played together at the All England Club. They exchanged fist bumps before the match and palm slaps between points. Their mother, Judy, who taught both boys tennis, was in the guest box alongside Andy's wife, Kim, and two of the couple's four children.

“It was a fun experience for me to be out there and play with him,” Jamie said. “It was sort of strange knowing what the background was.”

Andy Murray became a superstar at Wimbledon by winning the singles title in 2013, making him the first British man to triumph at the All England Club in 77 years. He won the title again in 2016.

His other Grand Slam trophy came at the U.S. Open in 2012, the same year he won his first singles gold medal at the London Olympics on Centre Court — “One of my favorite days I've ever had, certainly as an athlete,” he said Thursday — and the next, at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, made him the only player with two consecutive singles gold medals.

Some of his usual mannerisms were on display, such as tugging on the brim of his white hat, adjusting his shoes, or clenching a fist while looking up at the stands. There was less of his trademark intensity and self-criticism.

“Sometimes,” Djokovic said during the four-minute video, “it looked like you against the world.”

Federer added, “But you were never alone. Because while you carried your own dreams, you also carried theirs,” referring to Murray's many .

After the ceremony, Murray was greeted by several current and former players, including Djokovic, Iga Swiatek, Lleyton Hewitt, Holger Rune, Cam Norrie, Martina Navratilova, and John McEnroe.

Finally, Murray walked over to his brother, and they hugged.

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