ANDY MURRAY has been gracing Centre Court for half a lifetime now – but he has rarely enjoyed a victory more comfortable than this.
The 36-year-old Scot – who debuted at Wimbledon way back in 2005 and has never lost a first-round singles match here – hammered Englishman Ryan Peniston 6-3 6-0 6-1.
Andy Murray breezed past compatriot Ryan Peniston in the Wimbledon first round
Murray will face Stefanos Tsitsipas or Dominic Thiem in the next round
Essex-born Peniston won just four games on his Centre Court debut
Roger Federer enjoyed a chat with Kate Middleton in the Royal Box
In front of the former king of SW19, Roger Federer, and the future Queen of England, Princess Kate, Murray made short work of Southend southpaw Peniston, ranked 268th in the world.
The two-time Wimbledon champion had requested an early start time and the All England Club obliged, allowing him to be back at his Surrey pile in time to tuck his four children into bed.
It is highly unlikely to be as easy in the second round, where Murray will face either fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or former U.S Open champion Dominic Thiem.
But despite a loose first set, Murray was able to ease his way gently into this Grand Slam against wildcard Peniston, who can head back to the Essex coast with a £55,000 loser’s fee in his back pocket.
It was Murray’s first straight-sets Wimbledon win since 2017 and the first time in nine years that he has ‘bagelled’ an opponent – winning a set without dropping a game.
Federer, the eight-time Wimbledon champion, had been handed a standing ovation when he walked into the Royal Box at the start of the day’s play.
And the Swiss enjoyed a decent natter with the Princess of Wales as the man he defeated in the 2012 final – but lost to in the London Olympics showpiece that same year – breezed to victory in this one-sided affair.
Murray – ranked 40th in the world – did concede a break point in both his second and third service games but each time Peniston blew his chance and the Scot cranked up his serve to hold.
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An impressive forehand down the line handed Murray his own chance on the Peniston serve and when the underdog was wide with a forehand, the Scot seized a 4-2 lead and rarely look back.
Murray did have to fight back from 0-30 when he served for the opening set but a crafty winner at the net had the crowd off their seats and he soon wrapped up the.
Peniston, who won a single’s match here last year, threatened to subside completely during the second set with a strong of errors.
Murray, with his outstanding return of serve and his dog-with-a-bone demeanour, has ground down far more accomplished opponents on this particular lawn.
The third set was a little more of a struggle, Murray occasionally barking reprimands at himself when he became sloppy.
In a career of almost 1,000 singles matches, he had never lost to an opponent as lowly-ranked as Peniston and he knows he will have to raise his game to go any further here.
After his win Murray said: “It’s amazing to be back playing on Centre Court.
“I started off quite nervous and tentative but once I got a break, I played some good stuff, there were some goods signs there.”
“It’s been a while since I’ve felt physically this good coming into Wimbledon – the last few years have been challenging but I’m hoping I’m fit and ready for a good run.”
Asked about Federer’s appearance, Murray said: “It was amazing to have some royalty here and also some tennis royalty as well.
“The last time he was here watching me was at the Olympics. He was sat in (fellow Swiss) Stan Wawrinka’s box and was against me, so it was nice to see him give me a couple of claps after some good shots today.”