Andy Murray hadn’t played fellow Brit for nearly a decade when, as a 19-year-old, he was beaten by Tim Henman at an indoor event in Bangkok.
A lot has changed since then of course, and the prospect of facing three compatriots in the space of ten days isn’t something which Murray has become accustomed to in his illustrious career to date.
Yet after beating Aljaz Bedene and Kyle Edmund at the Aegon Championships just under a week ago, the draw gods once again paired Murray with another British comrade in Stockport’s Liam Broady in the first round at this year’s Wimbledon Championships.
A straight sets victory was to be expected for the second seed and despite Broady’s endeavour and resolve, the 233 place between them in the ATP rankings showed.
A 6-2 6-3 6-4 victory was completed in an hour and 42 minutes, meaning Murray will now face Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan in the second round.
Broady takes time to adjust
Like another fellow countryman James Ward, who was beaten world number one Novak Djokovic yesterday, Broady found it difficult to adjust the Centre Court surroundings and surrendered his serve in the second game.
The British number six, aged 22, did register his first game of the match two games later, courtesy of his profitable left-handed serve. However from the back of the court it was a predictable mismatch.
Broady, who has won just one match on the ATP tour in his career- when he beat Marinko Matosevic here last year, simply isn’t used to the immense consistency and intensity levels which a Grand Slam champion like Murray brings to the court.
The Scot was rarely threatened on his own serve and didn’t face a break point in the first two sets, a contrast from the French Open a couple of weeks where he was pushed to five sets in the opening two rounds.
Difference in class shows
There was no such trouble here, and after sealing the opening set in 24 minutes Murray quickly stole an advantage at start of the second to avoid any sort of scoreboard complication.
Broady’s attitude couldn’t be questioned and he repeatedly tried to fire himself up with a repertoire of ‘come on’s.
There were signs of him attempting to flatten out his groundstrokes and at 2-4 in the second he managed to work his way to a 0-30 position on the Murray serve.
However the difference in dexterity was no secret and Murray was able bat away any sort resistance with a quick riposte.
Broady keeps going but Murray proves far too strong
One of Broady’s highlights came when ripped a forehand on the run down the line to earn a deserved ovation from the Centre Court crowd.
Another break of serve at the start of the third kept Murray’s afternoon relatively stress free, and despite Broady earning his first break points in sixth game of the set at 15-40, the second seed fended them off with an array of smart serving.
With his confidence growing game by game, Broady did force Murray to serve it out and played some of his best tennis in the latter stages of the match.
Serve it out Murray did though and he will move onto the second round against Lu on Thursday.