Sir Andy Murray’s return to competitive tennis was watched by almost two million fans.
The three-time Grand Slam champion returned to action at Queen’s Club on Tuesday after almost a year out with a hip injury.
He lost a tight three-setter to Australian Nick Kyrgios on the match that was shown by the BBC on TV and the internet.
BBC figures have now revealed a peak of 1.8 million viewers tuned in to see him in action.
The game on BBC2 was up against football action from the World Cup and horse racing from Royal Ascot which were both being shown at the same time.
But Sir Andy’s legions of fans tuned into watch their hero’s return to top-flight tennis.
Speaking after the 2-6, 7-6, 7-5 defeat, Murray said he did not know whether he would launch a bid for a third Wimbledon crown after playing just one competitive game in a year.
The 31-year-old Scot added: “I won’t rule anything out just now.
“I won’t rule out playing Eastbourne and not playing Wimbledon. I wouldn’t rule out not playing a tournament next week and trying to get matches like in an exhibition tournament, as well, to get ready for Wimbledon.
“I’m not sure yet. I’m really happy that I got on the match court today and played. It was a close decision. I have not been practising loads at all. I’ve been hitting for a couple of weeks, and at the beginning it was only for 30 minutes or so. I really haven’t played a whole lot of tennis.”
A tennis source said: “Andy’s return to the court was highly anticipated and the viewing figures reflect that.
“His fans have been eager to see him back in action and they made sure they didn’t miss a shot.
“The viewing figures are excellent considering the match was daytime TV and competing against other high profile events.”
Murray’s previous Wimbledon successes have seen millions tune in to watch the action from the world famous Centre Court.
A massive 17.3 million were watching him defeat Novak Djokovic in 2013 to become Britain’s first men’s singles champion since Fred Perry.
More than 13 million tuned in to see him lift his second title at SW19 in 2016.
This year’s Wimbledon begins on July 2 with the final on July 15.