LONDON (AP) — Imagine what the reception will be like for Andy Murray on Monday when he first strides onto the green grass of Centre Court at Wimbledon.
A year ago, Murray became the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the singles title at a tournament the locals refer to simply as "The Championships," ending a nation's long wait and sparking talk of a knighthood.
This year, Murray gets the defending champion's honor of playing the fortnight's first match on the most famous tennis court in the world. Seems safe to say that 15,000 or so of his closest friends will greet him with a full-throated roar.
"As the time gets nearer, and, you know, I get ready to play the first match on Monday, I'll definitely ... be excited about it," Murray said. "I will be nervous. It (is) an experience; something I have never experienced before. Players have talked about it in the past, that it's a great experience. But it can also be a nerve-racking one."
Murray had a slow start this season, coming off back surgery, and he hasn't reached a final since Wimbledon 50 weeks ago.
But he showed he's on the way back to peak form by reaching the semifinals at the French Open.