Recently turning 30, with another baby on the way, Andy Murray was in reflective mood at Wimbledon.
These early rounds can be a little predictable and that’s just for those asking the questions.
Another straight sets, straight forward win. Another match ahead and another opponent to respect.
Another tricky question to deftly evade or outright ignore. Another interview and another and another.
They talk a lot but they don’t say so much – and who can blame them?
But Murray seemed genuinely taken aback when asked what advice he’d give his younger self.
“I definitely would enjoy my tennis more at the beginning of my career,” he said.
If the younger Murray gave the impression he’d rather be somewhere else, there is no doubt he now relishes a stage he has made his own.
Murray knows these days won’t last forever, he sees the ascent of his sport’s rising stars and wonders whether each opportunity will be his last.
Every match matters and he duly maintained his record of never failing to go beyond the second round here with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Dustin Brown.
No British singles players lost at Wimbledon yesterday, with four – Murray, Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Aljaz Bedene – all progressing to the third round.
It’s the best home performance here in 20 years, with British number two Kyle Edmund still to play against Gael Monfils.
Reasons for optimism? Yes. Reason for celebration? Most definitely not, according to Murray.
“It’s good but I’d rather set a new goal, reaching the second week or the quarter-finals or contending for the Slams,” he said.
“I think we should be aiming higher, why not try to get five or six players in the last eight here? It’s better to aim for that and fall a bit short than be delighted with five or six players in the second or third round.
“Players like Jo, Heather and Kyle, they know they are capable of more, so let’s aim for that.”
After disposing of part-time rapper Alexander Bublik, Murray swatted aside dreadlocked German Brown. Both players are flashy and unpredictable and the defending champion was ruthless in his evisceration of their challenge.
Brown beat Rafael Nadal here two years ago but the world number 97 rarely troubled the defending champion.
Few players attempt the range of shots Brown does but Murray kept his rhythm and winning momentum, the result was never in doubt.
“That was pretty positive and I played well again,” he added. “He started the match very well but once I got the first break, I felt the momentum was with me and I never looked back.
“There’s no problem with the hip and I’ve been getting good practices in. It’s been a good start and hopefully I can keep it going.”
Next up is Italian Fabio Fognini, a straight sets winner over Jiri Vesely to reach the third round for the third time in nine attempts.
Fognini completes a hat-trick of eccentric opponents. He is known for his on-court meltdowns, his flair, speed and movement. It will be a step up but on this evidence, not a step too far.
However, they’ve played six times and the scores are deadlocked, with alternate winners of every encounter.
And Fognini, a ‘grass is for cows’ sort of player, won last time on the red clay of Rome two months ago.
“He’s always dangerous,” added Murray. “He’s a shot maker and he’s very solid off his forehand and backhand side and can also hit winners from both sides.
“I’ve never played against him on grass but he moves extremely well on the other surfaces. He started the tournament well here, so I expect it to be very tough. You know, when Fabio is switched on, he’s really, really tough to beat.”
- SSE, the energy behind Andy Murray Live 2017 returns for a second year to The SSE Hydro in Glasgow. SSE do more for their customers, providing access to exclusive sport and entertainment reward offers and they’re giving customers the chance to win amazing experience packages to this year’s already sold out event.
- Sign up to #SSEReward now for free ssereward.com/competition