TEARFUL Andy Murray’s voice cracked with emotion as he broke down listening to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s “incredible story” of watching him win Wimbledon from prison.
The pair sat down for a conversation for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Andy Murray won his second Wimbledon in 2016
He sat down to chat with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to discuss their experiences
And Zaghari-Ratcliffe revealed how she was able to witness Murray’s second triumph at the All England Club in 2016 – 3,000 miles away but just an hour on the tube from her North London home.
The Iranian-Brit, 44, had been arrested and imprisoned just a few months before the grass-court tennis Grand Slam tournament.
But after having no newspapers or books for five months in solitary confinement, she was allowed to use a TV in her Evin cell with just two channels – one with “rubbish” Iranian soaps and the other showing Wimbledon matches.
Murray thrashed Nick Kyrgios on his way to reaching the final, where he beat Canadian Milos Raonic in straight-sets to secure his second SW19 crown and third major.
Six years on and nine months after her release, Zaghari-Ratcliffe told Murray: “They had no idea what they had given me.
“I was always a big fan of you, but also there I was in solitary confinement watching the match that you actually won in the end.
“I can’t tell you how joyful it was and I was ecstatic just to see you win.”
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was desperate to email Murray and get tickets to the 2017 final but “that never happened because I was in prison for such a long time”.
She did, though, tell her inmates about Murray and his story of success when she was moved out of solitary confinement.
She added: “It felt like a connection, it felt like an escape.
“I was close to home all of a sudden through sport.”
Murray, 35, was clearly overwhelmed and moved by Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s story after she spent six years in prison, separated from her husband and young daughter following allegations she was plotting to topple the Iranian government.
The former world No1 said: “That has made me quite emotional hearing you speaking about that.
“What you have just told me is by far the strangest, most incredible story that I’ve been told about someone watching me.”
British hero Murray – who has worked his way back up to world No49 despite having a metal hip – had to pause as he broke down in tears asking Zaghari-Ratcliffe about her experiences in prison.
He said: “I find myself getting quite emotional that someone could be treated in that way and – sorry…”
After a break and deep breath to recompose himself, Murray added: “If I was in that situation or someone I knew was, I would feel very angry but you seem well.
“It makes all the things I would complain about if my knee or backs hurts or whatever… we all have our own problems.
“But after listening to you and speaking to you I’ll certainly make sure I’m a lot more grateful for everything that I’ve got.”
Murray continued: “When I won Wimbledon in 2013 the first time, I didn’t really enjoy it as an experience.
“I was so relieved that I had managed to win that event. I felt there was lots of pressure on me to do that.
“Afterwards I didn’t make the most of it, I was pulled in lots of different directions. I wasn’t spending time with the people I wanted to in that moment.
“In 2016, that was the best moment that I have probably had on a tennis court.
“I said to my team three or four months after I won the final in 2013, if I ever do this again, I want to enjoy this properly.
“I want to be round my family and friends. Thankfully I managed to get the opportunity to do that again and it was a brilliant day.”
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