Murray Launches Wimbledon Campaign
23 June 2014, 05:40
Andy Murray will begin his Wimbledon campaign today as Murray mania returns to Britain - and with England out of the World Cup the nation's hopes are on the Scot to defend his title.
The 27-year-old will step out on Centre Court today to launch his challenge for a second title against Belgium's David Goffin.
Murray will be hoping to clinch the two-in-a-row in SW19 following his historic victory last summer against Novak Djokovic.
Having ended the wait for a British male singles champion at Wimbledon after 77 years, Murray will try to emulate Fred Perry once more by retaining the title.
With the World Cup taking place in Brazil, tennis is not the only sport in town this summer - but England are now out of the competition and will fly home early, dashing the dreams of thousands.
Asked how he felt about having the hopes of a nation on his shoulders going into the 2014 Championships, Murray said: "Wow.''
But the Wimbledon champion is focused only on his own game.
"I'm here to try and win the tournament. That's it. My focus is solely on the first match, preparing properly for that,'' he said at a press conference yesterday.
He added: "So I believe if I play my best tennis, I'll give myself a chance of doing well here, you know, putting myself in a position to win the tournament.
"But you can't start off slowly in these tournaments. You need to try and be on it from the first match. I'll be ready.''
Tickets for Centre Court and Court Number One were sold out by about 8.30am yesterday morning.
Despite sporting fans having one eye on the action in Brazil, the World Cup will not be shown on screens at the All England Club.
An AELTC spokesman said the last time they showed football was in 1996 - "so very consistent since then''.
Murray was asked about what he thought of England's performance in Brazil.
He said: "I don't think they played too badly, to be honest. I think the first match against Italy was probably better than Uruguay.
"But, yeah, I like football. I watch a lot of football. I enjoy it when the World Cup is on. It gives me something to do in the evenings.
"I don't have to listen to people talking about me playing at Wimbledon. I can just watch the football. Don't need to worry about any of that stuff.''
The Wimbledon champion said the World Cup is likely to be a big talking point among tennis players over the next fortnight.
"Pretty much when you walk into the locker room most mornings, that's what almost all of the players are talking about really.
"Yeah, I mean, a lot of the Spanish guys have been a little bit quiet the last few days. But, yeah, it's nice.
"That's one of the good things about tennis. It's such a global sport. I don't know how many countries there will be involved in the Championships this year, but so many of them.
"Yeah, when you've got a competition like the World Cup on, everyone takes an interest.''
Murray said he is feeling "nervous'' going into Wimbledon, adding: "But I think, you know, always when you come back to a Grand Slam, there's always nerves and pressure there before you start the event. I feel fairly similar to last year.''
Despite the summery weather over the last few days, forecasters say the opening day of the tournament could see interruptions in the afternoon due to rain.
Simon Partridge, a forecaster at the Met Office, said last night: "It's going to be okay, very similar day on Monday from today, so plenty of dry, sunny weather around throughout the morning.
"We expect temperatures throughout to be again quite similar to today, so 24C/25C.''
But Mr Partridge said there is a chance of some showers developing throughout the afternoon, with 30% chance of there being a shower from mid-afternoon onwards, and 20% chance of it being a heavy shower.
Murray mania is likely to ripple SW19 as people wait to watch the Scot in action.
Bookmakers William Hill is offering odds of 3/1 for a Murray victory, while Djokovic is favourite on 7/4.
Rafael Nadal, who goes into Wimbledon as the French Open champion, is 9/2 to win, and Roger Federer is on 5/1.
William Hill is offering odds of 5/4 on Serena Williams to win, 5/1 on a Sharapova victory and 150/1 on a Watson win.
Murray, who was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list in December 2012, has an Olympic gold medal after beating Federer at London 2012 and silverware from the US Open after beating Djokovic in the same year.
The British number one parted company with his coach Ivan Lendl in March this year and has brought in former Wimbledon women's champion Amelie Mauresmo to replace him, initially on a short-term basis.
It has made him the highest profile man in the sport to appoint a female coach.