Andy Murray returns to Wimbledon with men’s doubles win

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Andy Murray’s Wimbledon return began in ideal fashion as the Briton and his partner Pierre-Hugues Herbert thrilled the home fans with a late-night comeback win in the men’s doubles.

Murray and Frenchman Herbert won 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-0 against Marius Copil of Romania and France’s Ugo Humbert.

The first-round match finished at 21:22 BST in front of a sizeable crowd under Court One’s new roof.

“It was great to get the win and a nice atmosphere,” said Murray, 32.

“I was a little bit nervous at the start but we got better as match wore on.”

Fittingly, it was Murray who clinched the match with an overhead volley, warmly embracing Herbert before breaking out into a beaming smile as he took the acclaim of the jubilant British fans.

Scot Murray and Herbert will play Croatian sixth seeds Nikola Mektic and Franko Skugor next, with Murray’s older brother Jamie and fellow Briton Neal Skuspki potential third-round opponents.

Murray revels in Wimbledon comeback

Two-time singles champion Murray pulled out on the eve of the tournament 12 months ago, hampered by the pain in his hip which eventually led to a resurfacing operation in January.

He broke down in an emotional news conference at the Australian Open earlier that month, fearing the operation might force him to retire from an illustrious career which has also brought him a US Open title and two Olympic gold medals.

But here he was – 723 days since his last appearance when he lost in the 2017 quarter-finals to American Sam Querrey – rid of the pain and heavy limp which hampered him before he had the operation with Royal surgeon Sarah Muirhead-Allwood in January.

The former world number one returned to competitive action in the doubles at Queen’s in June, going on to win the title alongside Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.

Murray described the feat as “mental”.

At Wimbledon, he has linked up with Herbert – a doubles expert who has won all four Grand Slam titles – in the men’s event, and is playing with American 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in a blockbuster partnership in the mixed.

The pair started slowly in a first set where Murray struggled to land a first serve, which contributed heavily to his team’s low first-serve percentage of 45%.

But they grew in rhythm and understanding as the match wore on.

Murray’s match had not been assigned to a court as Wimbledon organisers waited to see how the day’s play on Centre Court and Court One panned out before making a decision.

And once Murray’s mixed doubles partner Williams edged past 18-year-old Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan, it was announced the returning Briton would shortly appear on Court One.

That drew raucous cheers when the news was delivered over the public address system, with another cacophony of noise when Murray walked out at about 18:45.

Darkening skies meant the new roof came into use for the second time before the fourth set began at 20:50, the brief break not halting the progress of Murray and Herbert as they raced away with the match.

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‘An irresistible pair’ – analysis

BBC tennis commentator Peter Fleming

Copil and Humbert certainly started out as a confident pair. They were terrific in the first set.

But Murray and Herbert managed an early break in the second and, from then on, they were an irresistible pair.

In the end, Copil and Humbert had no answer.

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