Andy Murray's Wimbledon debut in 2012 was 16 years ago. The Scot has felt almost every emotion at Wimbledon. From the devastation and pain of losing to Roger Federer in the final in 2012 to the joy the next year when he won the title, to the celebration when he won the title in 2017. title="">won title, more joy when he did it again in 2016, and absolute agony when his sore hip gave way in 2017.
His body was finally worn down by the effort required to reach the top, which included three grand slam titles and two Olympic gold medals. He had to have hip surgery in 2018. His career ended with him coming home from another operation in 2019.
Murray's greatest strength, his resilience, was what allowed him to fight on. It is well-documented that Murray returned to the circuit despite numerous injuries and niggles. But it should not be forgotten. It is almost a miracle to be back on the court at Wimbledon in singles.
You might not have known the story behind this week's Wimbledon. It was a typical Murray match: a slow start to round one, before Murray beat Nikoloz Basilashvili. Then, a stirring fightback in round two when Murray won two sets to one and defeated Oscar Otte.
His chances of winning on Friday will depend on how he recovers from these two extraordinary physical and emotional efforts. But, more concerning is the fact that Denis Shapovalov, a lefty ranked No 12 with a big game and a renowned pitcher, will test his abilities.
Murray was engaged in a battle for Otte's attention for nearly four hours, but Shapovalov, who had been unable to beat Otte because of a rib injury, kept his feet on the ground. He missed the French Open due to a shoulder injury, but he reached the Queen's Club semi-finals two weeks ago. His all-court game is fluid and well suited for grass.
Handling the occasion could be the biggest problem for the 10th seed. He is a popular player with many fans around the globe and will be the antagonist when he steps onto Centre Court for the first-time. The match will hinge on how he handles it, as well as Murray's wisdom and experience. He is clearly looking forward to the match, despite being nervous.
He said, "I believe it's an amazing moment for me." "Obviously, it's my first time on Centre Court in Wimbledon so it's extremely exciting for me, my team and my career. This was a match that I always wanted to play and against Andy in the spotlight.
"I was there to see his match against Otte and it was just fun for me as a tennis fan. Andy is a great player and it was exciting to see him moving again. I especially enjoyed the last two sets. It felt like he was back. It was amazing to watch. It's definitely a hard job. He clearly has all the experience and seems in great shape. It will be an exciting match. It will be an exciting moment."
Murray, 34, may find Shapovalov a step too much with his resurfaced hip. The two-time champion has proven people wrong and, more importantly, he is enjoying himself. Murray, who beat Otte, said that moments like these are why he is still playing. "Why would anyone want to give it up?"