Andy Murray begins his Wimbledon campaign later today and, two years since his historic win on Centre Court, the Brit is looking back to his best. 2015 clearly suits him, with three titles under his belt in just two months including his first tournament wins on clay plus a fourth victory at Queen’s Club. His clinical dismissal of Kevin Anderson in the final of the Wimbledon warm-up had British tennis fans gleefully anticipating the coming fortnight at the All England Club.
Today marks his first match against Mikhail Kukushkin. Hailing from Kazakhstan, the world number 58 has lost his past two meetings with Murray who is the number three seed at the Championships and will walk out onto Centre Court later today as the overwhelming favourite.
The pair will play third on the show court – following matches from defending champion Petra Kvitova and seven-time winner Roger Federer – and are expected to begin around 5pm.
While the expectation of the crowd rests entirely on Murray’s shoulders, he does share one thing in common with the man on the other side of the net – both players have hired female coaches. The Scot brought former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo onto his team last year after the departure of Ivan Lendl, while Kukushkin began working with wife Anastasia six years ago and married her two years later.
But while Murray is all too familiar with the latter stages of the SW19 tournament, the Kazakh pulled off his best performance last year, reaching the third round before losing to Rafael Nadal in four sets. If all goes to plan for the British number one, he’ll provide little resistance as Murray looks to avoid anything too taxing before a probable second round meet with Robin Haase.
Elsewhere at SW19, Heather Watson will pick up her first round clash against France’s Caroline Garcia at one set-all. The British number one fought back after losing the first set 6-1, forcing a decider before play was suspended due to bad light. She’s second on Court 12, meanwhile Laura Robson continues her comeback from injury, playing her opener against Russia’s Evgeniya Rodina – they’re out second on No.3 Court after Britain’s Kyle Edmund plays Alexandr Dologopolov in a bid to follow Liam Broady and become the second British wildcard to make the second round.