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Friday, 05 July 2024 08:37

Murray gets emotional Wimbledon tribute after doubles defeat as retirement looms.

By Jonathan Jurejko.

@APPhoto.

Andy Murray thanked Wimbledon organisers for an "emotional" farewell ceremony after his final appearance began with a defeat alongside older brother Jamie in the men's doubles.

The two-time singles champion is playing at the All England Club for the last time before retiring later this year.

A video montage of Murray's career was played on the Centre Court big screen after the match, leaving the former world number one in tears as thousands of fans showed their appreciation with elongated applause.

"It feels like a good ending to me. Whether I deserve it or not, I don't know. But they did a really, really good job," said Murray, who won Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016.

The Murray brothers arrived on a packed Centre Court to a standing ovation.

Another followed moments after they lost 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 to Australian pair John Peers and Rinky Hijikata.

Murray's parents Judy and Will, his wife Kim and two of their daughters watched on as former BBC presenter Sue Barker conducted a poignant ceremony shortly after.

Murray thanked his family, his team members over the years and the fans for their continued support.

"It is hard because I want to keep playing, but I can't," Murray said on court.

"Physically it's too tough now. I want to play forever. I love the sport."

Fellow Grand Slam champions Novak Djokovic, Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe and Iga Swiatek applauded from the side of the court, alongside Tim Henman - who Murray replaced as British men’s number one in 2005 - and current players Dan Evans, Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie.

Murray is set to appear again later this week, having signed up to the mixed doubles with fellow British Grand Slam champion Emma Raducanu.

"It was obviously very special to play with Jamie, we've not the chance to do it before," Murray, who won the first of his three major titles at the 2012 US Open, said.

"It was a race against time to get out here and physically it wasn't easy but I'm glad we were able to do it one time together."