Wimbledon 2021: Andy Murray stages a perfect return on centre court, beats Nikoloz Basilashvili in a dramatic first round match

Local favorite and 2-time champion, Andy Murray returned to Wimbledon in style, winning his first round encounter against Nikoloz Basilashvili in a dramatic encounter.

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

It was a fairytale return at Wimbledon for local hero Andy Murray as he got past 24th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili on the last match of the day at centre court. But what looked like a fairly easy outing for him turned out to be something more serious. Murray was leading 6-4,6-3,5-0 but lost 7 games in a row to take the match into the fourth set. He eventually won 6-4,6-3,5-7,6-3 in 3 hrs 32 minutes.

Andy Murray looked convincing right from the start and was aided by Basilashvili’s unforced errors. The Briton as expected received a lot of support from his home crowd. Sidelined by injuries, he was competing at Wimbledon after 4 years and the crowd’s reception towards him showed how much they missed him on centre court.

The Brit started of well, making Basilashvili move and breaking him in the process. He served very well and kept his game clean. The Georgian wasn’t particularly boding well to the grass and gave away some free points to Murray as he lost the first set 4-6. The story of the second set was almost the same- Murray’s incredible serve and Basilashvili’s unforced errors. All Murray had to to was keep the ball in play and he did that to perfection, winning the second set 6-3.

The third set started with Murray’s domination. Basilashvili was down and looked out as he was making way too many unforced errors. Murray soon took a triple break lead and was 5-0 up. But suddenly, all the dynamics changed. Basilashvili started taking one game at a time from Murray and suddenly saw himself at 5-5 saving two match points. The Brit seemed nervous and succumbed to the pressure, as he lost 7 games in a row and the set 5-7.

It was nearing dark hence the roof had to be closed which gave Murray the break he wanted to eradicate Basilashvili’s momentum. The Scott was much calmer in the second set and has making less unforced errors. He eventually won the set 6-3.

Andy Murray believes he can still compete at the highest level

Andy Murray
Andy Murray

In the on court interview, Murray acknowledged the crowd and thanked them for supporting him. He said: “It’s amazing to be back playing again on centre court. Such a brilliant atmosphere. Something that since I have came back to play for the last 8-9 months, I really missed playing in front of the fans. Amazing reception when I came out and great atmosphere during the match.”

Murray then revealed his mindset after he lost the third set. “I did well to win the fourth set in the end because mentally it wasn’t easy going back to the locker room after losing that third.” Speaking of what he did during the break, Murray sent the centre court crowd laughing with his answer: “I went to toilet.. just the No.1. I had to remember what it was that I was doing that got me in the winning position and managed to turn it around in the fourth set.”

Murray also claimed that he still thinks he can compete at the highest level. He said that he beat Basilashvili, a guy ranked in the top of the world without much match practice, and said he is ready for the challenge coming ahead.

“I don’t know why people keep asking me if this is my last tournament or match. I’m gonna keep playing. I wanna play. He is top 30 in the world. I hardly played any match this year and still I beat him”.

Also read: Iga Swiatek registers her first Wimbledon main draw victory over Su-Wei Hsieh on Day 1