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Bhardwaj: Hip-hip hooray as Murray magic returns to Wimbledon

Latest chapter in tennis legend's story at the All England Club will be written today.

Andy Murray has been in a happy mood around SW19.
Andy Murray has been in a happy mood around SW19. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

After hobbling out of SW19 two years ago followed by a brace of hip operations, a rejuvenated Andy Murray returns with a spring in his step and another Queen's title under his belt.

Many pros will tell you Wimbledon is the most prestigious tournament on the tour. It's like the Masters for golf. From the lush green blades of grass to the attention to detail in the locker rooms. This place is like no other.

And it's a tournament which is every tennis player's route into the British consciousness. It may be the only Slam some non-tennis fans will watch on the box. This may be partly because it's free to air (with more and more events becoming pay-per-view), but more so because it grips you.

For two weeks in July, all attention is on Wimbers. And for many of us, that means investing in the emotional rollercoaster that is Andy Murray.

Those in the know knew there was someone special coming through, but when Murray made his first steps at Wimbledon, it was in the shadow of Tim Henman, who was so popular he had his own hill. I prefer Murray Mound. It's catchier.

I've covered quite a few Championships here. Murray has had to cope with the enormous pressure of a nation's expectations. And you know expectation when Sean Connery pays a visit.

It's been quite a journey: a quarter-final, three successive semi-finals, then the final and touching distance of history only to lose to Roger Federer in 2012. Success on Centre Court came in the form of a gold medal in the Olympics later that year. Then Murray did it. He got his hands on the most coveted tennis trophy on the planet.

https://stv.tv/sport/tennis/1438984-murray-dream-team-with-serena-is-great-opportunity/ | default

Following his second singles triumph here in 2016, Murray became the youngest person in living memory, as well as the first active tennis player, to be awarded a knighthood. Arise, Sir Andy. But might his achievements be recognised with a statue at the All England Club?

Close to the main entrance at Wimbledon is a statue of the great Fred Perry. It was Murray who ended that 77-year wait for a British men's singles champion. It's no great stretch of the imagination to picture one of the Scot here in years to come.

At Queen's, Murray spoke ecstatically when revealing he was pain free after returning to competitive tennis. Playing doubles is ideal for the Scot - short points, short rallies and shorter spaces to cover.

All this possible, of course, following a second hip operation. While Murray's ambitions may be rather modest for the here and now, you get the sense he's eyeing another big prize. The Scot is a warrior. When that competitive edge kicks in, targets may change. Here's hoping.

https://stv.tv/sport/more/1438889-andy-murray-could-face-brother-jamie-after-wimbledon-draw/ | default

At Wimbledon, he'll be partnered by Pierre-Hugues Herbert. The Frenchman has completed the career Grand Slam in doubles. A sound pick. Herbert has a niggling issue in his thigh, though. He was, at times, moving rather gingerly during his straight-sets singles defeat to Kevin Anderson. Fingers crossed Murray's comeback ain't over without a ball being hit.

He will also play in the mixed doubles. Step forward Serena Williams. How about that for excitement?

The All England Club's original decision to schedule Murray's match on Court Two was baffling. It houses 4000 spectators. Centre Court's capacity is almost 15,000. Thankfully, Murray will now open his campaign today on one of the show courts, albeit for "safety" reasons.

Regardless - after the golden moments he's given us in the past, the centre of Wimbledon is wherever Murray is ... and always will be. As his brother Jamie neatly put it, "you won't get another Andy for God knows how long".

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