07/06/2022

Andy Murray kicked off his grasscourt campaign with a routine 6-2 6-1 victory over Georg Rodionov on his return to Surbiton Racket & Fitness Club.

The two-time Wimbledon winner had previously played in the ATP Challenger Tour event in 2004, but a lot has happened in the 18 years since.

It was the 35-year-old’s first game on grass since leaving the All England Club against Denis Shapovalov last July, and while he played only five matches on the rooftop last summer, the Sorpiton Cup is one of three he has played. Before this year’s trip to SW19.

There was a two-hour delay in proceedings due to rain, but as the light shower subsided, the crowd was treated to 58 minutes of classic Murray’s tennis, complete with a string of winners, pushbacks and trademark shouts of “come on.”

He chose to skip the French Open to start his Wimbledon preparations early and received a standing ovation from those in the 604-seat central court.

It wasn’t long before the Scotsman made his mark with an ace first, and Murray managed to break Rodionov in the fourth game after a superb win on crosses.

In his first match in nearly four weeks, the three-time Grand Slam winner showed no sign of rust and grabbed a second break soon after to finish the first set in 28 minutes.

With Chelsea midfielder and tennis fan Ruben Loftus-Cheek in attendance, Murray showed off his on-court confidence early in the second set with a superb chip that secured an early break.

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Rodionov, who has already won two Challenger events this year, played his part in a fun first-round match with a host of stunning winners.

Murray retained control of the key in Game 5 of Deuce maintaining his edge and with the skies ready to open again, a crucial second break went to the top seed.

This allowed the Briton to work the game, which he duly did to start his final season on the grass in a typically assured fashion.