Sheffield’s Jonny Marray has got his Wimbledon doubles title off to a winning start despite an injury to his new partner.
Last year Marray and Denmark’s Freddie Nielsen provided a shock by lifting the trophy on centre court.
But with Nielsen opting at the start of the season to concentrate on singles - although he still enters doubles draws and partners Grigor Dimitrov this year - the 32-year-old former St Wilfrid’s and All Saints school pupil needed a new partner.
He chose to team up with experienced fellow Brit Colin Fleming and the twosome saw off Slovakians Martin Klizan and Igor Zelenay on Court 14, prevailing 7-6 (7/4) 4-6 6-3 6-4.
Their success came in spite of Fleming receiving constant treatment on his back - something which at one stage had looked like it could derail Marray’s title defence at the first hurdle.
“I hurt it in the first set and it restricted me a little bit so it was good to get the treatment,” Fleming said of the problem, which he does not expect will cause him any more problems.
“I knew Jonny could take care of his serve so I just had to get through mine and thankfully we don’t play tomorrow. I’ll be fine.”
For Marray it was his first outing on the Wimbledon grass since his magic moment a year ago and he admitted to feeling there was a greater spotlight on him this time out.
There was not a spare seat on Court 14 and fans queued to take any that came up which, while not unusual for a British player, is not always the case when it comes to doubles.
“It’s always great to be here and I love it,” he said.
“There was a few more people knowing how I am with the British crowd. They love their tennis over here and were behind us a lot which definitely helped.
“I have great memories which give me a lot of confidence now and in the future. I’m here and looking forward to what’s ahead.”
Marray and Fleming, seeded ninth for the tournament, will take on Frantisek Cermak of the Czech Republic and Michal Mertinak of Slovakia in the second round.