ANDY Murray made a surprise appearance at Wimbledon yesterday – in the royal box.
The middle Saturday of the tournament traditionally sees big names from the world of sport introduced to the audience, and this year a number of last year’s Olympic and Paralympic champions appeared in front of a delighted crowd.
Cyclists Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton were given standing ovations when their names were read out by Sue Barker, before Murray, himself a London 2012 gold medallist, was brought out.
The Scot’s name was not on the royal box guest list when it was released, but he was given the loudest cheer of all by the unsuspecting crowd.
Murray’s presence may have been viewed as unusual by some, given that he is still in the tournament and played his third-round match on Friday, but after chatting to compatriot Hoy and posing for photographs he made a sharp exit as Bernard Tomic and Richard Gasquet prepared to start their third-round match.
Unlike previous years Murray, who earlier on took to the practice courts alongside his coach, former champion Ivan Lendl, started his Wimbledon campaign on the first day of the championships, which means he gets both yesterday and today off.
“I haven’t played that many times on the Friday at Wimbledon, so it’s a little bit new for me,” he said.
“I have no idea whether it makes any difference. Roger [Federer] always played on Monday. He had a pretty good record here.
“But I don’t know if it’s got anything to do with the two days off over the weekend.”
He will play Russian Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round tomorrow. Murray remains second favourite to win the men’s title behind Novak Djokovic with odds of 11/8, making bookmakers nervous about the cash implications of a Murray win, with speculation they may have to pay out as much as £10 million.
Meanwhile, Laura Robson became the first British woman to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon in 15 years, after a fighting comeback against world number 71 Marina Erakovic.