Murray has focus on defence

  • Last Updated: June 22 2014, 15:38 BST

Andy Murray was welcomed back to Wimbledon with a reminder that the hopes of a nation are once again on his shoulders.

Andy Murray: Will start the defence of his title on Monday
Andy Murray: Will start the defence of his title on Monday

He may have ended Britain's 77-year wait for a men's singles champion 12 months ago but there is a new tournament to be won and expectations are sky-high.

If Murray was under any illusion that the pressure had lifted, that was shattered in the opening 30 seconds of his pre-tournament press conference when he was told that, following England's World Cup exit, hopes were now on him to lift the gloom.

Murray hesitated before responding with a single word: "Wow."

Things have changed, of course, with the Scot now able to see his name on the honours board and Fred Perry pushed a little further back into history.

But Murray's goal remains the same, to win grand slams, and the perfectionist inside him will not allow him to be satisfied with past glories.

He said: "I think tomorrow, I need to enjoy that moment when I walk back on the court.

"But as soon as I start playing the match, it's about trying to win. And I enjoy winning. I don't really want to go out on the court tomorrow and enjoy playing and then lose.

"It's time when I get on the court to start concentrating. Not think about last year, concentrate on this year's tournament and that's it."

Murray will have the traditional honour of beginning the defence of his title by playing in the opening match on Centre Court, against Belgian David Goffin.

The 27-year-old has defended a title before, at the US Open last year, but it will be a new experience for him at his ninth Wimbledon.

The only person he has sought advice from is new coach Amelie Mauresmo, who he appointed after the French Open and who will be with him for the first time at a grand slam.

"I'm aware when I walk out on the court tomorrow I'm going to be nervous," said Murray.

"I know there's going to be pressure. That's why today when I woke up there's butterflies there. You're one day away from starting the tournament.

"But I hope that I'm able to deal with it well. We'll find out tomorrow."

One person Murray probably will not be talking to is the last British player to defend a Wimbledon singles title, 1977 champion Virginia Wade.

The reaction to Murray appointing Mauresmo has generally been very positive but Wade was one of the few dissenting voices, telling Press Association Sport she did not understand the partnership and initially thought it was a joke.

Murray said of Wade's comments: "She's done it a few times before with me. It doesn't surprise me."

That was no doubt a reference to her remark at the French Open in 2012 when she described Murray as a drama queen as he struggled with the back problems that eventually prompted him to undergo surgery last September.

Mauresmo's appointment has been hailed as a big step forward for female coaches, who are rare not just in the men's game but the women's, too.

Both Murray and Mauresmo have played down the feminist angle but Murray hopes it will start a trend, as his hiring of Ivan Lendl two and a half years ago did in terms of bringing high-profile former players back into the game as coaches.

"The reason for working with Amelie was about finding the right personality with the right experience to help me," he said.

"I think she will help me. I've really enjoyed the last 10 days I spent on the court with her. It's been great.

"And if it helps bring more female coaches into men's sport - and women's sport - that's a good thing. Because there's absolutely no reason why someone like Amelie can't help me.

"It's possible it doesn't work. It has nothing to do with whether she's a woman or not."

Mauresmo knows what it takes to win Wimbledon as a player and a coach, having helped Marion Bartoli to her surprise triumph last year.

The Frenchwoman, who retired a month later, praised Murray's appointment, saying: "I think it's amazing to see that a guy, really one of the top players in the world, is hiring a woman to coach him.

"That is showing also the next generation that it is really moving on and women can actually coach some guys.

"It has been the case in football already, and now he's bringing this to tennis, so that's really a huge step forward. I'm sure it's going to be a great combination.

"Amelie won Wimbledon as a player, and as a coach without dropping a set with me last year, so she is definitely on a good roll."

As well as Murray, six other British players will be in action on the first day of the Championships.

In the men's singles, British number two Dan Evans plays Andrey Kuznetsov, James Ward takes on 17th seed Mikhail Youzhny, teenager Kyle Edmund faces Andreas Haider-Maurer and Dan Cox meets Jeremy Chardy.

In the women's event, British number three Johanna Konta plays Peng Shuai and Naomi Broady meets Timea Babos.