Andy Murray makes winning return to Wimbledon

Former World No 1 Andy Murray played and won his first singles match at Wimbledon since 2017, beating Nikoloz Basilashvili in four sets

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Andy Murray reacts after winning his first singles match at Wimbledon since 2017

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray made a winning return to his home Slam by beating Nikoloz Basilashvili in four sets on Centre Court.

The 34-year-old took three hours and 32 minutes to register a 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win over the hard-hitting Georgian.

The former World No 1 had last played a singles match at Wimbledon back in 2017, when he lost in the quarterfinal to Sam Querrey. It was after that event that his hip injuries started to flare up.

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Currently ranked 118, the 34-year-old was handed a wild card into this year’s event. But against Basiliashvili he would face tough opponent.

Yet the experience of Murray, who won his first Grand Slam title at the 2012 US Open, showed as he mixed his shots, not allowing the opponent to find any rhythm, and took the first two sets before racing to a 5-0 lead in the third.

However at that stage, while serving for the match, he started to falter and allowed the the 24th seed Basilashvili to win seven games in a row to take the set 7-5.

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“I didn’t deal with the pressure well at the end of the third set,” Murray said.

“But having to come back out and try and win a match, having just lost seven games in a row from 5-Love up on Centre Court, a lot of players would have capitulated there, and I did the opposite of that.

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“There is pressure in that moment as well. When you’re starting the fourth set, having just lost seven games on the spin, the headlines of that (would have been that) you have choked… and it’s one of the worst defeats of your career.

“(That is) what you would have heard after that match had I lost. (It) is not easy to turn that around.”

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Yet he did. After exchanging breaks at the start of the fourth set, the Brit held serve for the first time in six service games to go up 3-1. It was a lead he would not relinquish.

Still belongs at the highest level

The hard-fought win was a sign that he still belonged at the highest level of the game after losing a lot of time to injury. For Murray, it also silenced a few critics.

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“I keep getting asked is this going to be my last Wimbledon, last match? I don’t know why I keep getting asked about it,” he said on court after the match.

“No, I’m going to keep playing. I want to play… I can still play at the highest level. (Basilashvili is) ranked 28th in the world and I have hardly played any matches and I beat him.”

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Murray will next play the winner of the all-qualifier affair between Oscar Otte and Arthur Rinderknech.

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