Andy Murray’s farewell: Sue Barker conducts the perfect Wimbledon tribute

Sue Barker interviews Andy Murray

Murray was interviewed on court after a straight sets defeat in the men’s doubles – PA/Jordan Pettitt

What a lovely goodbye that was: sweet, smart, and stained in tears. And nobody in the history of British tennis has deserved such a grandstanding, no-holds-barred, full-on sentimental farewell as much as Andy Murray.

There was the twice Wimbledon champion, in the middle of Centre Court, the place he has graced so often over the past two decades, his back stooped by injury, choking back the tears. Up in the stands his mum Judy was caught by the cameras crying, nearby Andy’s wife Kim was failing to hold back the moment, down by the umpire’s chair his brother Jamie, with whom he had just played a doubles match, was in floods.

Indeed, all round the court and up in the packed stands, there were more tears than a drunken hen night. These were the tears of knowing we will not see his like again.

Well, at least not until he plays in the mixed doubles on Saturday. You might have thought the last actual match at Wimbledon might have been the time to say goodbye. But if he was going to get the grand send off on the nation’s televisions, this was the perfect time to do it. On election night, with the BBC obliged not to mention the word politics until the polls closed, here was the ideal moment to give him as much time as was needed.

In truth, the farewells began before his match had even started. The BBC cameras followed him from the dressing room through to the court, knowing the significance of what was going to happen. It was not hard to have some sympathy with John Peers and Rinky Hijikata, the Aussie pair playing the Murray boys, immediately cast as the party poopers. But as it turned out, their victory made them the party starters.

The moment it was over, and they had done their post-match victory interview, things got under way. And what a great nostalgic half hour it was. From nowhere, Sue Barker appeared. The woman whose graceful presentation of BBC tennis had been a constant throughout Murray’s career, had stepped out of retirement to celebrate the player who has made so many grand broadcasting moments in her time.

As a host, Barker has long known what she is doing. She knows exactly how to push the emotional buttons. And so, after a lovely montage of Murray’s trophy-laden highlights, after a procession of the great and good of the game – John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Novak Djokovic among them – had lined up at the back of court to watch on, she interviewed him about his life and times.

At every turn, she sought to turn on the waterworks. She asked him to remember breaking down in tears in this very place when he lost to Roger Federer in 2012. She asked him to talk about his mum and dad. She asked him to praise his wife.

“Woof,” he said to that, knowing his voice was soon to check.

As he always is, in his replies he was wry and self-deprecating, funny too, albeit that several of his anecdotes featured him vomiting. But perhaps the moment that really caught him out was when Barker asked him how it felt to retire.

“I want to play forever,” he choked. “I love the sport. It’s given me so much. I don’t want to stop.”

But stopping he is, his ravaged body no longer capable of withstanding the necessary exertions to keep him competitive. And after he had hugged everyone in the line, hugged his brother and hugged Sue, he was off. Probably to get his ravaged body ready for its next appointment here.

A couple of days too early, maybe. But it was a send off the man has long earned. A send off everyone there loved. Well, except one person. Murray himself will have hated every minute of it. He had just lost a tennis match. What made him such a magnificent sporting competitor – arguably the greatest these islands have ever produced – was that he found defeat so traumatising he fought with every sinew to stop it happening again. Yet here he was, on Centre Court, being eulogised after a loss. One day he will laugh at the irony of that.


Andy Murray’s Wimbledon farewell, as it happened

09:40 PM BST

What a night!

Wimbledon 2024: Score and latest updatesWimbledon 2024: Score and latest updates

Andy Murray waves to the crowd on the player’s walkway bridge – Getty Images/Sean M. Haffey

09:34 PM BST

‘A privilege to stand on Center Court’

09:30 PM BST

Where was Roger Federer?

The Swiss superstar has been at Wimbledon today but he was absent from the Murray presentation aside from the video tribute.

Maybe he will be involved on Saturday if Murray’s mixed doubles match with Raducanu ends in defeat.

09:23 PM BST

Murray meets his adoring fans on the balcony

09:13 PM BST

Murray runs off again!

The players give Murray a guard of honour and he runs through the middle and off the court.

He will be back. Probably on Saturday for mixed doubles with Emma Raducanu.

09:11 PM BST

‘I want to play forever’

Murray now explains how he wanted to continue playing but physically he can’t anymore.

He then runs over and embraces the all-star cast of players at the back of the court.

09:09 PM BST

Emotional Murray

Murray holds back the tears as Barker encourages him to talk about his family.

He pays tribute to his wife Kim and opens up on meeting for the first time and describes her as “the best mum”.

He says he is looking forward to spending more time with her.

09:02 PM BST

Murray the coach?

Murray hints that maybe his future lies in coaching after Barker asks him if he will come back to Wimbledon.

I’m not never going to come back here!

It depends who I’m watching. I hate watching my brother. I find it really difficult to watch my brother play. I love tennis. I watch it all the time.

I would probably be more comfortable sitting up there in a coaching box rather than somewhere else.

09:01 PM BST

Barker and Murray reminisce

Barker gets Murray to open up about losing to Roger Federer at Wimbledon but bounces back to win at the Olympics in 2012.

It’s always really difficult to speak after a loss, particularly after a Grand Slam final and being at Wimbledon.

That’s the closest I had been and it was obviously difficult. It was quite an important moment in my career.

I’m not saying I’m the most outgoing or bubbly personality, but I think people probably saw how much I cared about the sport for the first time maybe.

Obviously it was an important match and important moment in my career.

They move on to finally winning Wimbledon in 2013 after beating Novak Djokovic in the final.

He admits to vomiting in the cab home after the celebrations in 2016 after beating Milos Raonic.

2016 was really different. I felt way less pressure and the enjoyment I got out of that win was totally different to 2013.

I had an amazing evening that night with my all friends and family, properly went out and enjoyed it with the people closest to me.

Of my Slams, 2016 was my favourite one. I don’t remember much of that night. I had a few drinks and I did unfortunately vomit in the cab on the way home.

08:56 PM BST

Murray tribute video

08:53 PM BST

Murray holding back the tears

Mum Judy is crying though in the stands. Let it flow Andy!

08:51 PM BST

Tribute video

A video of Murray’s best moments is playing for everyone. The crowd applauds when it reaches the moment of his first Wimbledon win.

08:49 PM BST

Murray speaks

Yeah it was obviously really special. We never got the chance to do it before. There was a chance this year.

Jamie’s usual partner was playing with Neal Skupski so he asked me.

Obviously it was a bit of a race against time to try and get out here and physically it wasn’t easy today but I’m glad we were able to get out here and do this one time together.

08:48 PM BST


Sue Barker is here. Tim Henman, Dan Evans, Cam Norrie, Jack Draper, Lleyton Hewitt, Iga Swiatek, Holger Rune, Novak Djokovic, Conchita Martinez, Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe have walked out.

Barker calls Murray over to speak and they share an embrace.

Wimbledon 2024: Score and latest updatesWimbledon 2024: Score and latest updates

Sue Barker returns to Centre Court – Reuters/Matthew Childs

08:45 PM BST

Murray dashes off the court

Muted celebrations for Hijikata & Peers, who deservedly won. Andy M leaves the court for some reason.

It appears there will be a presentation of some sort.

08:43 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 6-7 (6-8), 4-6 Hijikata & Peers*

Cheers from the crowd as Peers double faults on the opening point. But he responds with a forehand winner that beats Andy M.

Andy M backhand into the net, 30-15.Hijikata volley winner, 40-15. Hijikata volley winner. GAME SET MATCH.

08:40 PM BST

‘Surprised at the number of empty seats on Centre’

Given this is likely to be one of Andy’s last matches at Wimbledon, I’m surprised at the number of empty seats on Centre right now. The resale ticket queue should have been rammed for this, surely?

08:39 PM BST

A Murray* & J Murray 6-7 (6-8), 4-5 Hijikata & Peers

Must win game for the Murray brothers to prolong this. Jamie M gets back on track with a volley winner, 40-0.

And they do get the hold thanks to a swinging Andy M ace.

08:37 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 6-7 (6-8), 3-5 Hijikata* & Peers

Top class doubles play by Hijikata again to find the angle with a flicked forehand pass, 15-0.

Jamie M hits a wild volley long, 40-0. He’s had a shocker in the last few minutes.

Peers volley winner and they move a game away from victory.

08:34 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray* 6-7 (6-8), 3-4 Hijikata & Peers

Too good from Hijikata again as he beats Jamie M with a backhand pass, 0-30. Peers nails Andy M in the chest with a forehand, 0-40. It was a fair but brutal shot.

Andy M saves the first break point with a volley winner. Jamie M double fault. Oh dear.

Hijikata & Peers break and edge a step closer to victory.

08:30 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 6-7 (6-8), 3-3 Hijikata & Peers*

Hijikata & Peers hold serve again to put the pressure back on the Murrays. They are looking very composed out there.

Wimbledon 2024: Score and latest updatesWimbledon 2024: Score and latest updates

Andy Murray reacts – Reuters/Hannah McKay

08:27 PM BST

A Murray* & J Murray 6-7 (6-8), 3-2 Hijikata & Peers

Andy M gets the Murray brothers back on track with a service hold to love. They still believe they can force a third set. If they do, the match will finish under the roof.

08:24 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 6-7 (6-8), 2-2 Hijikata* & Peers

Andy M beats Hijikata with a forehand return winner, 15-15. Vintage shot by him there.

On his next return, Andy M looks laboured as he moves to his right and nets.

Hijikata & Peers hold to level the set.

08:21 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray* 6-7 (6-8), 2-1 Hijikata & Peers

Hijikata has been the best player on the court and he comes up with another forehand winner, 15-15. And again from the Aussie, this time off the backhand wing, 30-30.

Peers finds the gap between the Murrays with a forehand, break point. Hijikata goes for it but his return sails long, deuce.

Peers splits the pair again with a forehand winner, second break point. Jamie M volleys into the net off a low Hijikate return.

Australians strike back!

08:15 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 6-7 (6-8), 2-0 Hijikata & Peers*

Hijikata nets a backhand volley on the stretch to give the Murrays a break point chance.

Big roar from Andy M after Peers’ volley goes long. The Murray support box are on their feet.

Game on?

08:10 PM BST

Second Set: A Murray* & J Murray 6-7 (6-8), 1-0 Hijikata & Peers (*denotes server)

Audible groan by Andy M after hitting a second serve for a double fault. That looked and sounded painful.

To compound matters Hijikata & Peers earn themselves two break points. Jamie M saves the first with a volley winner.

And they save the second when Peers pushes a volley long, deuce. Rally of the match featuring exceptional reactions by both teams but it’s Hijikata who steals the point with a volley winner. Third break point.

Good first serve by Murray is unreturned by Hijikata, deuce. Jamie M volley winner and the brothers hang on.

Wimbledon 2024: Score and latest updatesWimbledon 2024: Score and latest updates

Andy Murray reaches for a volley – PA/Mike Egerton

08:02 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 6-7 (6-8) Hijikata & Peers

Hijikata beats the despairing stretch of Jamie M with a backhand pass down the line, 6-7. Hijikata forehand winner down the line to take the set, 6-8.

08:00 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 6-6 Hijikata & Peers – TIEBREAK

Brilliant forehand return winner by Peers, 3-4. Andy M nets a backhand return, 3-5. Jamie M stretches and places a forehand return inside the tramlines, 4-5.

Jamie M overhead smash winner, 5-5. Peers backhand return goes wide, 6-5. Good reactions by Peers at the net, his volley is at Andy M and he can’t respond quick enough to get the ball over the net, 6-6.

07:56 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 6-6 Hijikata & Peers – TIEBREAK

Peers ace to start, 0-1. Jamie M overhead smash winner, 1-1. Jamie M volley winner, 2-1. Great reactions at the net.

Peers volley winner after Andy M doesn’t do enough with his return, 2-2. Peers overhead winner, 2-3.

Andy M volley winner, 3-3.

07:53 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray* 6-6 Hijikata & Peers

Jamie holds his serve to love and it’s tiebreak time. It was always going to be that way.

07:50 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 5-6 Hijikata* & Peers

Andy sees a gap for a backhand down the line but the ball drifts wide, 15-15. Hijikata backhand down the line is long, 30-30. Another half chance for the Murrays coming.

But Hijikata’s first serve does the business and holds serve.

07:46 PM BST

A Murray* & J Murray 5-5 Hijikata & Peers

Andy continues to look very secure and strong on his serve. The Australian pair are yet to test him and the Murray brothers hold.

07:43 PM BST

Doubles players’ revolt forces ATP climbdown on plan to cut places

By Tom Morgan
Doubles players revolted against tennis chiefs with a legal threat after an attempt to cut back on their numbers at events following Wimbledon.

The plot to tighten qualification criteria has now been shelved amid furious warnings from at least 49 players who signed a fiercely-critical letter. The ATP was forced into a U-turn after players alleged amendments amounted to an “unlawful boycott” and “exclusion”.

Effectively, the proposed new rule would have reduced the number of places available to specialist doubles players at tournaments in Hamburg, Gstaad, Newport, Bastad and Kitzbuhel.

Click here for more.

07:42 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 4-5 Hijikata & Peers*

Ridiculous backhand return by Andy goes high into the air and lands on the baseline, a rally ensues and Hijikata nets, 30-30. The crowd senses a chance for the Murray brothers but Peers sees out the danger to hold.

07:40 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray* 4-4 Hijikata & Peers

Jamie secures another routine service hold for the Murray brothers. This set looks destined for a tiebreak.

07:37 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 3-4 Hijikata* & Peers

Good serving by Hijikata and the Australian duo hold to love. No fuss from those two so far.

07:34 PM BST

A Murray* & J Murray 3-3 Hijikata & Peers

Andy’s first serves are going in at around 110mph which is close to his normal level when fit. Good serving by him and the Murray brothers hold to love.

Wimbledon 2024: Score and latest updatesWimbledon 2024: Score and latest updates

Andy Murray and Jamie Murray talk during the changeover – Reuters/Hannah McKay

07:30 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 2-3 Hijikata & Peers*

Double fault by Peers makes it 30-30 and gives the Murray brothers an opening. Return winner by Andy and he shakes his fist towards his box, deuce.

Hijikata volley winner to hold serve again.

07:27 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray* 2-2 Hijikata & Peers

Brilliant stretch volley winner by Jamie, 30-0. And he completes his service game with an ace. A lot will be riding on him tonight if the Murray brothers are to win.

07:24 PM BST

A Murray & J Murray 1-2 Hijikata* & Peers

Andy is forced to stretch for a forehand and appears to pull up. He holds his left side and is moving a little gingerly.

Ace from Hijikata to hold. But there was the first sign that Andy is far from fully fit.

07:21 PM BST

A Murray* & J Murray 1-1 Hijikata & Peers

First serve of the match by Andy and it is a good one. Down the T and unreturned. He thinks he’s hit an ace to make it 40-0 but he just misses the centre line.

Murray brothers move to 40-15 when Hijikaka nets a backhand return. Peers keeps his pair in the game with a return winner past Jamie.

Forehand winner by Andy and the Murray brothers hold. That should settle any nerves.

07:17 PM BST

First Set: A Murray & J Murray 0-1 Hijikata & Peers* (*denotes server)

Umpire called for the end of the warm-up but Andy took a little extra time to work on his serve.

First return by Murray is a good one but he then pushes a forehand long, 0-30. Volley from Peers goes long after quick reactions by Andy, 40-30.

Peers puts away an overhead smash to put his pair on the board.

07:09 PM BST

Here we go!

Standing ovation for Andy and Jamie Murray as they walk out first.

After the coin toss, they are made to swap sides and they get another round of applause.

All eyes on the warm-up to see how he is looking.

07:05 PM BST

Atmosphere is building

It has been nearly 30 minutes since the last match finished. Plenty of time for the spectators to go and come back and be in position for this.

The Royal Box is packed and Roger Federer is rumoured to be among those seated there. But he’s not there yet!

06:56 PM BST

This might be the first time Murray’s kids have watched him at Wimbledon

Wimbledon 2024: Score and latest updatesWimbledon 2024: Score and latest updates

Kim Murray on centre court with two of her children – PA/Mike Egerton

06:45 PM BST

Hijikata keen to spoil Murray farewell

What a great opportunity to go out and play in front of a lot of people.

I am sure none of them will be supporting us, but that’s fine! It would be great if we could be the ones to spoil the party, but it’s not going to be easy.

06:37 PM BST

Can Murray conjure up another magic moment on Centre?

Wimbledon 2024: Score and latest updatesWimbledon 2024: Score and latest updates

Andy Murray practised well this morning – PA/Zac Goodwin

06:27 PM BST

The last dance for Andy Murray

Good evening and welcome to what promises to be a very emotional night on Centre Court as Andy Murray competes in the men’s doubles with his brother Jamie.

Andy has confirmed this will be his last year competing at Wimbledon after withdrawing from the men’s singles on Tuesday.  Out to spoil the party are Australian duo John Peers and Rinky Hijikata.

Peers reached the 2015 Wimbledon final with Jamie Murray and won the Australian Open men’s doubles in 2017 while Rinky Hijikata claimed the same title in 2023.

The last time a first round men’s doubles match was scheduled and played on Centre Court was in 1995 when Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde defeated Ken Flach and Robert Seguso.

For Jamie Murray, the chance to link up with his brother was something he could not miss out on.

“It’s something we wanted to do at some point,” said Jamie Murray, the former doubles world No 1 who has won seven Grand Slam titles. “Hopefully it’s a fun experience for us both. And I guess appreciate what we have been able to do on the court for the last 15 years or so.

“It is unique to do high level sport with your brother. For me, it’s a cool thing to be able to do with him, regardless of how it goes. I am hoping it is a nice experience – not that we go out like a damp squib.

“I think his determination probably more than anything overrides most things that people think of him. Like his refuse-to-lose attitude. That is what makes me most proud of him. In this country, he took a lot of people on a journey with him. People that he would have never met or know him, how much they followed his career over the years is quite remarkable.”

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top