It was just like old times at Wimbledon for Sheffield’s Jonathan Marray as the 34-year-old got his men’s doubles campaign underway in convincing style.
With Denmark’s Frederik Nielsen alongside him for the first time in almost three years, the pair enjoyed a 6-1 6-4 4-6 7-6 win over Fabrice Martin of France and Purav Raja of India on Court 10 in sweltering conditions at the All England Club.
Marray and Nielsen won the men’s doubles title together at Wimbledon in 2012 but differing schedules, plus Nielsen’s desire to also play singles, has kept them from joining forces since then.
“We started off brilliantly and those first two sets were some of the best tennis that I’ve played in a good few months,” Marray said.
“It’s a great feeling to be out there again with Fred.
“It’s always a great feeling to be out on the courts at Wimbledon, but with what we achieved (in 2012) it felt really good. We gelled together really quick considering we hadn’t played together for so long.
“I’ve been out of action for the past few weeks with a calf injury which has prevented us from playing any warm-up tournaments. I’ve just been trying to get that ready, but it held up really well. It was only last week that I really started hitting again.
“The only thing I felt, having not played many matches, was that my focus went a bit the longer the match went on. I lost a bit of juice in my legs. The weather made it a bit tougher on the body but all of us are used to playing in this, going to other countries where the weather is generally hotter and more humid.
“Hopefully the focus and energy will come back the more we play.”
Victory inevitably had tennis fans around Wimbledon speculating as to whether Marray and Nielsen can do it again and win the title for a second time.
“Who knows?” said Marray. “I haven’t even looked at the draw.
“That’s the way I always go into every tournament. There’s no point looking ahead.
“You just have to focus on the game in front of you. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. You can’t get ahead of yourself in this game.
“As soon as you start to do that it comes back and slaps you in the face.”