The three-time Grand Slam champion came through a gruelling five-set thriller against Germany’s Oscar Otte in front of a lively Centre Court crowd, drawing on the energy of the pumped-up spectators.
Wimbledon has not witnessed such exciting and euphoric scenes since 2019, with the tournament cancelled last year due the coronavirus pandemic.
But thanks to the hard work and efforts of NHS staff, vaccine creators and key workers – who have been celebrated throughout the tournament and given seats in the Royal Box – normality is beginning to return and has allowed for audiences to attend the Championships this year.
Yet the government are only planning a 1% pay rise for health workers – a pay cut in real terms with inflation at 1.5% – and Murray has called for a U-turn.
Asked what it means to play in front of the key workers, Murray replied: ‘I think the whole country kind of realised how important they all are, and maybe hadn’t got the recognition that they probably deserve up until now.
‘So, yeah, it’s fantastic that they have been able to come along and watch some of the tennis.
‘Hopefully they can enjoy it and, yeah, hopefully the politicians can realise that they deserve more than what they are getting paid just now.
‘I think what is it, they got something like a 1% pay rise? It was pathetic.
‘So, yeah, they obviously deserve a lot more than that, and, yeah, they have done an amazing job getting us through the pandemic.’
Murray has also been keeping tabs on England’s progress at Euro 2020 – there were even renditions of ‘Football’s Coming Home’ during his win over Otte – and despite being a proud Scot he hopes the Three Lions go all the way.
He continued: ‘I got to see a little bit of yesterday’s match but not much, because I was actually practicing during the first half. I actually went along to the Scotland-England match at Wembley, which was brilliant, great fun. Went with one Scottish friend tennis player and two English friends and had a great night, so enjoyed that.
‘I think England have got a pretty decent chance, it seems like, of winning. Ukraine is a solid draw, I think, and then if they can get back to Wembley for the semi-finals, I think that’s against Denmark or Czech, they’d be favourites there. Yeah, it’s a great opportunity for England to win a major competition for the first time in a while. Hopefully they can do it.’
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