Andy Murray beats James Duckworth in first round of Wimbledon
Duckworth takes first set, Murray fights back to win the next three
Murray will face John Isner in second round
It is never straightforward with Andy Murray, but four sets, an underarm serve and a solid comeback later and he was through to the second round of Wimbledon.
Murray recovered from going one set down to seal a first win on Centre Court, in what eventually turned into an impressive 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 performance. Afterwards he batted away suggestions he was ready for a deep run in Wimbledon, but conceded: "I'm in a better place than I was last year when I played here."
He hit 35 winners to 14 unforced errors on Monday night, a strong statistic by any standards. But Australia's James Duckworth's 47 winners put him through the wringer during the early stages, and made this more complicated for Murray than it looked like on paper.
The latter stages of Murray's career have been defined by two hip surgeries and his defiant steeliness to make a comeback to the top level. But Duckworth's doctor's notes somehow surpass 35-year-old Murray's. He is still only 30, but Duckworth has had nine surgeries in the last 10 years. The latest was hip surgery after the Australian Open earlier this year, which kept him off the tour for nearly four months.
He has gone nought for seven since returning from his injury break so, as far as form goes, he had none to speak of going into this match. It makes Murray losing his grip on the first set all the more baffling.
Murray won seven of his nine matches on grass this past month, including reaching the final in Stuttgart and beating Stefanos Tsitsipas. An abdominal injury has troubled him over the last two weeks, but Murray confirmed after his match that a scan over the weekend had given him the all clear ahead of Wimbledon starting.
— Andy Murray Fan Club (@MagicMurrayFans) June 27, 2022
It still took him some time to find his groove though. Murray served poorly in the first set, making less than half of his first serves, and struggled to return effectively. Duckworth used his variety to thwart Murray's rhythm too, frustrating him with light-touch drop shots and even threw in the odd lob, playing him at his own game.
The fight Murray is known for, in particular in these parts, came through eventually and he went toe-to-toe with a competitive opponent. Aided by loud grunting and some animated reactions - which had some members of the crowd in stitches - he grew into the match.
The most memorable point came in the form of a rare Murray underarm serve in the third set. Although he has previously risked it at Indian Wells, this was his first at Wimbledon. When he saw Duckworth camped behind the baseline, he said he could not resist: "He changed his return position, that's why I did it. If they stand four or five meters behind the baseline, then why would you not do that to try to bring them forward if they're not comfortable returning there? Tactically it's a smart play."
Only, it wasn't the greatest of deliveries. In fact, the serve itself was quite a shocker. The high bounce gave Duckworth more than enough time to get his racket to it and it left the very real prospect of Murray - by now in the ascendency in the match - ending up with egg on his face. But then came a classic Murray sequence: a lob and then subsequent smashing away of Duckworth's attempt to stay in the point.
The Centre Court spectators were caught between laughing and cheering for a moment, before they all got to their feet to celebrate the two-time champion's audacity. It helped consolidate the momentum swing in Murray's favour as he went on to win the third set.
Duckworth was rattled afterwards, and bemoaned the decision to leave the roof open, complaining about the poor light. "If he [Murray] asked, they'd have come on," he said to the umpire. The roof closed before the fourth set began, but it was no use to him with Murray now in the zone.
Two double faults from Duckworth were the difference late in the fourth set, and gave Murray the opportunity to break and then serve for a place in the second round which he duly took - finally letting out a huge roar at the conclusion of yet another night spent under the lights at Centre Court.
He faces big-serving 24th-seed John Isner in the next round, who he has beaten in all eight of their previous ties. But he was not taking anything for granted: "I'll need to play really well and certainly return a bit better than I did tonight if I want to get through that."
Murray defeats Duckworth, as it happened:
That's all from me...
But read Molly McElwee's report from Centre Court for a full recap of the comeback win.
Here is Murray's full post-match interview
"I don't know how many more opportunities I'll get to play on this court so I want to make the most of it"@andy_murray reflects on his first round win over James Duckworth#Wimbledon | #CentreCourt100 pic.twitter.com/enaBP5bYdn
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 27, 2022
Decent celebration from Murray
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 27, 2022
Murray will face John Isner in the next round
A big serve awaits Murray.
"It is amazing to be back out here with a full crowd after the last few years. I''m getting on a bit now and I don't know how many more times I'll play on this court.
"I did well to rebound after the first set. There is always nerves, pressure and stress so great to get out here and get a win under my belt."
Murray wins 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
He is into the second round after a slow start.
Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Murray gets an enthusiastic round of applause as he walks to his mark to serve. Duckworth hits the net during a long-ish rally. 15-0. Murray sends his first serve wide. He challenges... but it is out. Duckworth gets to the net following the second serve, drawing himself level. 15-15.
Murray moves into the lead. 'Let's go Andy' rings around Centre Court. Ace! 40-15.
Two match points for Murray. His first serve is just long... the second is in but Duckworth challenges. It was in... so Murray wins!
*Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 5-4 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Murray pounces on a second serve to take a lead. Is this the game he breaks? Duckworth responds well with an ace, despite a poor Murray challenge. 15-15.
A great return from Murray puts him back into the lead. 15-30. The first serve is long, the second is out! Two break points for Murray!
The first goes to Duckworth. 30-40. Duckworth is long from his first serve and the second hits the net! Murray breaks! That could be that, if Murray holds...
Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 4-4 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Murray's first serve crashes into the net but Duckworth hits his second serve long. The next point also goes to the Scot. An ace follows. 40-0. Murray holds! Not a break in sight this set.
*Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 4-3 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Duckworth and Murray exchange points. 15-15. It feels like this set is going to go down to the wire, both players looking competent on their serve at the moment. Duckworth pulls away, including a cheeky forehand drop shot executed from the back of the court. 40-15.
Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-3 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Murray moves to 15-0 after Duckworth fails to reach a drop shot. A powerful serve takes him to 30-0. The pair exchange points. 40-15. Ace. A routine hold for Murray - and the crowd on Centre Court loves it.
*Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-2 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
A stunning rally ends with Duckworth just reaching a drop shot to move to 15-0-. An ace follows. 30-0.
Murray and Duckworth exchanges shots from the back of the court before the Australian moves forward to volley a crisp winner. He then finds the net. 40-15.
Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-2 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Murray loses the first point on his serve... and he is not very happy about it. The next first serve goes long but Duckworth sends an attemped winner long. 15-15. Murray takes the next two points before an ace secures the hold.
*Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 2-1 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Murray takes the first point on Duckworth's serve, the Australian finding the net with a backhand. Duckworth responds well, winning a long rally with a strong cross-court forehand. 15-15.
Murray moves back in front but a stunning drop shot keeps Duckworth init. 30-30.
Murray sends Duckworth's first serve well long. 40-30. Murray hits a winner to take us to deuce.
Duckworth pulls off an outragerous backhand to move to advantage. The next point has to be replayed... but then Duckworth holds. He needed that!
Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 1-1 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Murray starts his service game with an ace. Duckworth then capitalises on Murray's underwhelming second serve. 15-15.
Murray regains the lead and takes the next point too with a deft backhand volley. Murray holds!
*Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 0-1 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Duckworth serves first in the fourth set, starting nicely. Murray rushes to the next on the second point, drawing level with a volley 15-15. Duckworth nails a couple of forehands to move to a 40-15 lead. Duckworth holds, with relative ease.
The roof is being closed...
Rather slowly. The players left the court but play should resume shortly.
The roof is being closed!
Duckworth has his way...
Murray 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Duckworth is still upset. He suggests to the umpire that the roof and lights would come on if Murray asked for it. We continue with the roof open...
Murray loses the first point, but takes the next two. 30-15. And another. 40-15. A powerful forehand winner secures the set for Murray!
*Murray 4-6, 6-3, 5-2 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Duckworth takes the first two points on his serve with ease. He then sends a wild forehand well, well wide. 30-15.
Two more easy points for the Australian follow.
Here is THAT Murray underarm serve
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 27, 2022
Murray 4-6, 6-3, 5-1 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Murray and Duckworth exchange points. The Australian continues to complain about the light, which I must point out is the same for both players. Duckworth moves into a 15-30 lead.
Big point for Murray. His first serve is wide but he draws level after Duckworth sends a forehand long.
Duckworth plays a well weighted drop shot but somehow Murray gets to the net to hit a winner. 40-30. Duckworth takes the game to deuce, smashing a winner off a second serve.
Ace! Advantage Murray! Duckworth refuses to give up here, taking the match back to deuce. Advantage Murray! His first serve is long and he volleys the ball (with his foot) in frustration. Deuce.
Murray nails a wider serve! Advantage... and now game! That took a while!
Duckworth tells the umpire he is struggling to see
It is dark-ish on court. The roof is open. Duckworth is told 'bad luck' and to carry on.
*Murray 4-6, 6-3, 4-1 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Duckworth is struggling at the moment. Murray is dominant and takes the first point of the Australian's serve. He takes the next point too. 0-30.
Duckworth's serve has been inconsistent since the first set, but he finds an ace just when he needs it. 15-30. Murray extends his lead, capitalsing on a second serve. 15-40.
Duckworth wins a point back but Murray shouts challenge! The ball was way, way in. It does not matter, Murray secures the double break!
More on the underarm serve
Moment of magic on Centre Court. Andy Murray with an underarm serve, then lob and finally a smash to win the point.
Crowd didn't know whether to cheer or to laugh. Neither did I. One person shouts, "Again!"
— Molly McElwee (@molly_mcelwee) June 27, 2022
Murray 4-6, 6-3, 3-1 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Ace. Nice start. Murray then throws in an underarm serve, Duckworth gets it back but Murray wins the point! Sneaky. 30-0.
Duckworth is clinging on the in the game, clawing a point back. Normal service resumes. 40-15. A long rally ends with Murray hitting long. 40-30.
Despite Duckworth slipping, Murray cannot kill the point. Deuce!
Advantage Murray! A deft volley takes him in front. And there is the hold! Duckworth finds the net with his return.
*Murray 4-6, 6-3, 2-1 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Duckworth takes the first point before Murray levels with a volley drop shot. 15-15.
Duckworth moves back in front, Murray thinks he has won the next point but Duckworth challenges. The ground stroke was long! 30-30.
Murray edges in front, imposing himself following Duckworth's second serve. Break point!
A long rally follows, but Duckworth puts one into the net! Murray breaks! The momentum is with him now.
Murray 4-6, 6-3, 1-1 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Murray starts with an ace before sending a smash from close range into the net. Poor mistake. 15-15.
Murray moves back in front and yells once more, this time in celebration, one presumes. A superb ace to the far right of the court beats Duckworth. And another ace! Murray holds!
It is a lovely evening on Centre Court
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 27, 2022
*Murray 4-6, 6-3, 0-1 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Duckworth looks a little tired as the third set begins. He starts with a double fault. A long rally ends with Duckworth steering a forehand just wide. 0-30.
Duckworth works his way to the net, put fails to Murray away with two smashes. Third time lucky, though. 15-30.
Another double fault lets Murray off the hook. Break point. Murray puts his return wide. 30-40.
Murray loses the next two points! Advantage Duckworth. The Scot yells in frustration. Duckworth holds after rediscovering his radar.
Murray 4-6, 6-3 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Can Murray secure the set? He takes the opening point, and the next. 30-0. Duckworth cannot return Murray's first serve once more. Set point. A second serve does not stop Murray winning the set! Game on!
*Murray 4-6, 5-3 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Evening all, Jake Goodwill here to see you through the remainder of the match. Duckworth wins the first two points of his service game with ease before Murray wins one back. A long rally ends with a deft lob by Duckworth beating Murray before a drop shot seals the game.
Murray 4-6, 5-2 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Third ace of the match for Murray, 30-15. Duckworth forehand long, 40-15. Fourth Murray ace to hold.
Murray* 4-6, 4-2 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Duckworth jams Murray up with his first serve and puts away a forehand for a winner, 15-0.
Better forehand down the line by Murray and he draws the error, 30-15. Frustration for Murray as his forehand just misses the line, 40-15. Classic Murray backhand cross court winner, deuce.
Lovely slicing and dicing from both men and Duckworth shanks a forehand high and out. Break point.
Duckworth forehand wide, Murray breaks. Gutsy point by the Brit.
Murray 4-6, 3-2 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
At least Murray is easing through his own service games as he races to 40-0. Nice dropshot winner by Duckworth, 40-15.
Murray forehand into the corner is a winner and he holds. That's just his 10th winner of the match, Duckworth has 22.
Murray* 4-6, 2-2 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Murray continues to struggle with Duckworth's serve which isn't particularly big but the accuracy and spin is causing all sorts of problems.
Murray 4-6, 2-1 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Murray holds to love to keep his nose in front. Needs to start making a move on Duckworth's service games.
Murray* 4-6, 1-1 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
First double fault of the match by Duckworth, 15-15. Longest rally of the match, 20 shots and Murray wins it when his excellent backhand pass is volleyed wide by Duckworth, 15-30.
Lovely drop shot by Murray that Duckworth fails to reach, deuce. Duckworth nets an overhead, break point Murray.
Defensive lob by Murray but this time Duckworth gets it right with the overhead. And he holds with a volley winner after dragging Murray to the net with a careful drop shot.
Second Set: Murray 4-6, 1-0 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Confident service game by Murray after the disappointment of the first set. Needs to stamp his authority on the match quickly.
Murray* 4-6 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Duckworth forehand winner with Murray looking a touch laboured with his movement, 15-15. Defensive backhand return by Murray flies long, 30-30.
Duckworth with a looping top spind forehand winner into the corner to break. Impressive set by the Australian. Problems for the Briton.
Murray 4-5 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Break point Duckworth as Murray nets a forehand. Weak Murray second serve and Duckworth punishes him with a huge forehand winner down the line to break. Great shot.
Murray* 4-4 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Chance for Murray as he drills a backhand at the feet of Duckworth and gets the error, 15-30.
Bad miss by Murray as he puts a backhand return long, 30-30. And his disappointment is compounded by Duckworth holding serve again.
Murray 4-3 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
I get the sense Murray will get joy today if he targets Duckworth's backhand. The Australian has been a bit wayward so far. Seven unforced errors already.
A shake of the racket to his team by Murray after he holds.
Murray* 3-3 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Vintage Murray backhand gives Duckworth no chance. But the Aussie hangs on to hammer down a first serve which Murray nets on the return.
Murray 3-2 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Much better service game by Murray as he races to 40-0 and holds when Duckworth's defensive backhand goes wide.
Murray* 2-2 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Back-to-back backhands by Duckworth into the net and Murray has two chances to immediately break back, 15-40.
Duckworth saves the first but not the second as he nets a sliced backhand.
This has the makings of being a very long match with many breaks.
Murray 1-2 Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Problems for Murray as he slips to 0-30. Then a deep backhand by Duckworth is unreturned by Murray, three break points.
Tame Murray forehand into the net and Duckworth breaks. To my eye, Murray looks a bit stiff out there.
Murray* 1-1 Duckworth (*denotes next server)
Already shaping up to be a very nice match to watch with Duckworth eager to get to the net after every opportunity. But he nets a low volley to make it deuce.
Nevertheless, the Australian holds on with Lleyton Hewitt watching in his box.
First Set: Andy Murray 1-0 James Duckworth* (*denotes next server)
Murray makes a nice start racing to 30-0 but is pegged back after back-to-back winners by Duckworth.
But the two-time Wimbledon holds when Duckworth nets a sliced backhand.
Murray has won the two previous occasions they have met. The last being in 2019.
Here we go
Racket in hand, Murray strides onto Centre Court through the new entrance and he gets a warm reception from the fans.
It's getting a bit chilly now in SW19 I have to admit.
Success for Raducanu
US Open champion Emma Raducanu showed grit and determination to beat Alison van Uytvanck 6-4, 6-4 in her first round match on Centre Court.
Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of Wimbledon
Andy Murray takes on Australian James Duckworth in the first round of Wimbledon today and he hopes the return of Ivan Lendl can help inspire him to more Wimbledon heroics.
The two-time champion gave a positive assessment of his form and fitness having faced a race against time to recover from an abdominal strain suffered in the final of the ATP tournament in Stuttgart two weeks ago.
Murray showed his prowess on grass once again to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios and was matching last year's Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini prior to sustaining the injury.
He was forced to pull out of the cinch Championships at Queen's Club and was unable to practise at full tilt at the start of this week but has made encouraging progress since.
"It's gone well," said Murray. "I've been able to gradually progress my training this week and got to play a few sets, a lot of points. The last few days have been good.
"I think I showed a couple weeks ago that there was still good tennis left in me. I beat a guy in the top five in the world, was neck and neck with Berrettini, who is one of the best grass-court players in the world, before the injury.
"I played well against Kyrgios as well. The first set was a good level. And I've been doing pretty well in practices. I know the tennis is in there, I just need to bring it out during the event now.
"Obviously having Ivan on my team helps. We've had a lot of success in the past. We know each other well. He still believes in me. There's not loads of coaches, people out there, that have done over this last period, and he has. That definitely helps me."
Murray announced in March that Lendl had agreed to return for a third spell as coach having guided him to all three of his grand slam titles before the Scot experienced his long-term hip issues.
Murray has managed to play consistently for the last year but struggled to find the tennis and results of which he felt he was still capable.
He parted ways with long-term coach Jamie Delgado - who originally worked alongside Lendl - late last season and admitted he struggled to find a replacement who shared his optimism for the future.
The 35-year-old said: "For the most part, when I had had conversations with coaches, the potential of working with someone, it had come off most of the time and worked out, whereas this time round, I got turned down by a lot of coaches.
"That obviously was difficult to deal with because there's obviously good coaches out there. I don't know how many that are top-level coaches that maybe you'd really want to work with if you're trying to win the major events.
"That's also why I'm grateful that Ivan has come back to work with me and help me try and achieve what it is I want to achieve."