Belfast Telegraph

Murray puts on a right Royal show

Andy Murray was disappointed with his bow but little else as he showed the Queen exactly why he is one of the favourites to win Wimbledon this year.

The British number one gave an impressive display of all-court tennis as he dispatched Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-3 6-4 6-2 in little over an hour and a half on Centre Court.

The match was given significant prestige by being the only one watched by the Queen on her visit to the All England Club yesterday.

Her last appearance in 1977 was to see Virginia Wade win Wimbledon, and there was little doubt she would witness another British victory from the moment Murray broke in the second game after saving four break points in the opener.

Much of the focus beforehand had been on the bows the players would make to the Royal Box on entering and leaving the court, and the fourth seed admitted his efforts left him underwhelmed.

“They were all a little bit different,” said Murray, who also bowed on meeting the monarch after the match.

“I saw the second one when I was warming down. It wasn't great. It just looked a little bit awkward.

“But I'm not used to doing it.

“We talked about it on the way out to the court with Jarkko and then at the end of the match to make sure we were going to do it again, because obviously the players aren't used to doing that at the end of matches.”

Despite his bowing issues, Murray felt he handled the occasion well and was privileged to be part of such a rare event.

He explained: “Obviously it was quite a big occasion but you try to prepare for it the same as every match.

“And once you do get into the tournament, you do tend to have a routine you stick to. I just tried to go along with that.

“There were not many extra nerves. You realise after you're finished the occasion that it was and who was actually watching you.”

He said: “For all the players, it's probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You saw by the players that were there to meet her this morning that it was a big deal for everybody.

“I'm sure everyone thought it was a great occasion. I don't know whether she'll be coming in the next few years, but I definitely enjoyed it.”

In many ways the match took second billing to the occasion but Murray did his best to draw attention back to his game with a display of some promise for the days ahead.

“He had a few break points in the first game but once I managed to hold that game, I obviously got the break straightaway,” he said. “That settled me down a little bit.

“It was a good match. He's a tough player, very solid. He doesn't give you many free points. I served very well, which is good.”

After the match, Murray and Nieminen joined the Queen on the members' balcony before she left the All England Club.

The fourth seed, who wanted to keep details of their conversation private, added: “Obviously meeting the Queen, everybody's going to get very nervous, and it just adds to it when there's so many people watching.

“It was just a quick few minutes' chat. I'm sure she's very busy. But I think we both went okay.”

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