Wimbledon: Champion Murray produces return to remember

Great Britain's Andy Murray hits a winner against Belgium's David Goffin.
Great Britain's Andy Murray hits a winner against Belgium's David Goffin.
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Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was impressively back to business at the All England Club as he booked a place in the second round with a straight-sets win over Belgian David Goffin.

The British No 1 delighted a packed Centre Court with a 6-1 6-4 7-5 victory in just over two hours.

Murray, who will face Slovenian Blaz Rola next tomorrow, suffered pre-match butterflies on returning to the scene of last summer’s triumph – which ended a 77-year wait for a home-grown champion – but they were soon put aside once the action got under way.

“I was pretty nervous before the match. Then when you are walking to the court, I have a lot of memories obviously from last year,” said the Scot, now coached by former women’s world No 1 Amelie Mauresmo.

“I think the crowd was pretty much full from the start, and I enjoyed it for the walk to the chair. Then when I sat down, it was time to get on with business.

“I was probably a bit more nervous (Sunday) than I was (yesterday). But it does help if you can get ahead early like I did. That helped settle the nerves down a little bit. I played very well. I hit the ball very well. I hit the ball clean from the beginning.

“I thought the second and third sets were very high level. I thought he played very well. He was aggressive. He goes for his shots. He moves extremely well. He’s very quick around the court. He has great hands up at the net as well.

“He played a bad game from 40-0 up at 5-5 in the third set. But it was very good.”

Rola, meanwhile, admits he does not know what to expect when he takes on Murray, in what could be a Centre Court debut.

“Nothing can prepare me for this,” he said after beating Pablo Andujar of Spain in straight sets on Court Five.

“I am going to walk up that stand and see how many people are actually watching this because I actually really never stepped on the Centre Court here.”

After Murray set the early standard, top seed Novak Djokovic looked just as impressive if not even more so as he brushed aside Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan.

After taking the first two sets 6-0 and 6-1 in just 47 minutes, the Serbian – beaten by Murray in the final here last year – was at least stretched by the world No 56, before closing out the match 6-4 in the third.

“Coming into Wimbledon with no official matches (on grass), it always gives you an extra reason to get that commitment and focus from the start and try to play as best as you can. That is what I did and I am very, very pleased with my performance overall,” said Djokovic, beaten in the final of the French Open by Rafael Nadal barely two weeks ago.

The world No 2 will next face Radek Stepanek after the Czech knocked out Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-2 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, Queen’s Club champion Grigor Dimitrov maintained the momentum from his Aegon Championships victory with a 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 6-2 win over American Ryan Harrison.

The 11th-seeded Bulgarian, boyfriend of 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, is a dark horse to challenge for Murray’s crown.

However, the 23-year-old, who next faces Luke Saville of Australia, will take the tournament one step at a time.

“I just won my first match, so I think we are really early on of talking that way, but I think everything is possible,” said Dimitrov.

Seventh seed David Ferrer recorded a 6-0 6-7 (7/3) 6-1 6-1 win over fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta.

Marin Cilic, the 26th-seeded Croatian coached by former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, defeated Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4 6-7 (7/2) 6-2 6-1.

However, 18th seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco lost to Marinko Matosevic of Australia, the 2013 Wimbledon quarter-finalist going out in four sets yesterday.

On Court Two, sixth seed Tomas Berdych came back from losing the first set to beat Victor Hanescu of Romania in four, while Ernests Gulbis, the 12th seed from Latvia, overcame Estonian Jurgen Zopp 7-6 (9/7) 7-5 7-6 (12/10).

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 14th seed, was left frustrated by heavy late-evening rain as the Frenchman prepared to serve for the match in an epic clash against Austrian Jurgen Melzer.

Tsonga was 6-1 3-6 3-6 6-2 5-4 in front when ominous dark clouds over south-west London delivered the downpour that brought play to a halt for the day.

He and Melzer resume at 1pm today.