WIMBLEDON, England — It’s been a long day for the Brits, considering their top two women’s players and their top two men’s players faced each other at Wimbledon earlier Thursday. A by-election that will end 14 years of Conservative rule.

They left it all behind and entered Center Court anyway, wearing Wimbledon-colored blankets and scarves covering their bare necks as the sun began to set. After 7 p.m. they got up and raised their phones, and when he walked onto the court, those with free hands began the first round of applause, all united in their desire to celebrate Andy Murray one more time.

“Come on, Andy!” A fan shouted that familiar sound before the umpire tossed the coin.

The cries from young and old continued throughout the night, enough to prompt Murray and older brother Jamie, the loss of posterity to Australians John Beers and Ringi Hijikata.

Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion who revolutionized British tennis and created a legacy as one of the most relatable and passionate members of men’s tennis’ recent golden age, is still playing tennis at the All England Club. She will partner compatriot Emma Raduganu in the mixed doubles draw.

But it was Thursday’s 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 loss that officially bid farewell to her own tournament, in which the 37-year-old continues to struggle with mobility issues after June 22 surgery to remove a cyst. from his back. The procedure is the latest in a marathon cycle of injury and recovery that has seen Murray undergo the first of two major hip surgeries since 2018. He returned in 2019 from a second, improbable, with a metal waist – winning only one title, but reminding fans of his champion’s will and unrelenting passion in every grueling match.

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Thursday’s match itself felt beside the point—except for what it gave to his mother, Judy; his father, Will; He is survived by his wife, Kim; And their two older children got the chance to see him play doubles in a Grand Slam for the first time with his older brother.

“Our words don’t do it justice, how good he was,” Pierce said in a passive winners’ speech before relinquishing the mic so the evening of tributes could begin.

Former BBC player and legendary TV presenter Sue Barker returned briefly from retirement to handle an on-court interview as cries of “Suuuuuue” rained down as British tennis celebrated in full swing. He started hearing about Murray losing his first Wimbledon final to Roger Federer in 2012. It gave Scott an opportunity to remind the tennis world of what it might be missing by his nature — equal parts dry, acerbic and profoundly truthful.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a very outgoing or bubbly personality,” Murray said of the loss. “But I think people saw how much I care about the game – for the first time, maybe.”

Later that year he won the US Open for the first of three Grand Slam titles, then defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become the first British player to win the Wimbledon singles title in 77 years. Her second Wimbledon crown came in 2016.

Murray recalled Thursday in front of an impressive line-up. John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Conchita Martinez, Ika Sviatek, Djokovic and current British No. 1 Jack Draper attended the on-court ceremony, and Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic took turns addressing Murray. A video retrospective His career. Venus Williams was part of the video, participating as a friend and fellow champion for gender equality in tennis. Murray is the rare male player who has been a frequent voice for women’s tennis throughout her career. Editing reporters He was oblivious to the achievements of women athletes.

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He said he hopes fans will remember him for the dedication he showed.

“One good thing I’ve done in my career is that no matter the ups and downs – whether it’s winning matches, tough losses, surgeries, setbacks – … I always come to work with the same dedication, work ethic and Passionately,” Murray said.

After all the pomp and circumstance, Murray admits how tough even doubles can be. His movement issues were evident, sometimes drawing gasps from the crowd when he pulled up sharply after a shot, and he couldn’t serve anywhere near his top speed.

He reiterated that he did not retire because his love for tennis had faded. His body dictated the end of his life, as happened to many of his peers. Murray said he was pacified. He plans to vacation with his family, play in the Paris Olympics and then retire.

“It’s something, yeah, I think it’s a little bit out of my control. If I know my body can do it, I’ll play — there’s nothing about the sport that I hate … I don’t want to do it anymore for that reason. I like the travel. I like the competition. , training, trying to get better, I love all of that,” Murray said. “I know now is the time. I am ready for that.

After the tribute, Murray walked off center court, stopping to hug every former player he saw, then walked through the court until he emerged on a walkway above the court. The members of the crowd realized that they could see their own country’s champion one more time, so they ran to say goodbye.

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