Murray is enjoying defence of crown

Hampshire Chronicle: Andy Murray, pictured, made light work of Belgium's David Goffin Andy Murray, pictured, made light work of Belgium's David Goffin

Andy Murray savoured the moment as he stepped back onto Centre Court for the beginning of his Wimbledon title defence.

The 27-year-old was given a rare standing ovation by not just the crowd on Centre Court but also the Royal Box when he walked out for his first-round match against Belgian David Goffin.

Playing the first match of the tournament on Centre is an honour reserved for the reigning champion and Murray ensured it was a happy return to the hallowed turf as he defeated Goffin 6-1 6-4 7-5.

Centre Court was on its feet again as he headed back to the locker room and it was a reception that touched Murray, who next meets Slovenian Blaz Rola.

He said: "It was nice. I was pretty nervous before the match. Then when you're walking to the court, I have a lot of memories obviously from last year.

"To come to the court and get that reception, it was very nice to come out. I think the crowd was pretty much full from the start. It was great.

"I enjoyed it for the walk to the chair. Then when I sat down, it was time to get on with business."

Murray woke up with butterflies in his stomach on Sunday morning but he did not show any early nerves, easing into a 3-0 lead.

Goffin, ranked 105, was a relatively kind draw, the Belgian a talented but rather lightweight player who had not won a grand slam match for two years.

Goffin grew into the match and pushed Murray in the third set, but the Scot saved the only two break points he faced in the match and clinched victory with his eighth ace.

"I was probably a bit more nervous yesterday than I was today," he said.

"But it does help if you can get ahead early like I did. That helped settle the nerves down a little bit.

"I played very well. I hit the ball very well. I hit the ball clean from the beginning of the match.

"I thought the second and third sets were very high level. I thought he played very well. He was aggressive. He goes for his shots. He moves extremely well. He's very quick around the court. He has great hands up at the net as well.

"He played a bad game from 40-0 up at 5-5 in the third set. But it was very good."

Much has changed since the glorious summer's day last July when Murray defeated Novak Djokovic to end Fred Perry's 77-year reign as the last British men's singles champion.

Murray chose to have back surgery last September, a decision that helped him move on from his Wimbledon triumph, and has not won a title or reached a final since.

He split from Ivan Lendl in March, and replacing his glowering presence in Murray's support camp was former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo, his equally high-profile new coach.

Much has been made of Murray hiring a female coach but it was the match of personalities and shared experiences on the court that persuaded the Scot that Mauresmo was the right fit.

Her love of wine will not be a frequent topic of conversation - "It would be pretty one-sided," said the virtually teetotal Murray - but he did seek Mauresmo's advice on defending a Wimbledon title, which she did in 2007.

"We went to dinner and I spoke to her a little bit about it and asked her how she dealt with it," said Murray.

"One of the things she said was she tried to take in the atmosphere and the experience of walking out on the court as the defending champion. You never know if you'll get the chance to do it again.

"She has quite clear memories of doing that herself. W e talked about the other things that come with it as well, the extra pressure."

Murray's father Willie and grandparents Roy and Shirley Erskine watched on from the Royal Box along with his fellow Scottish sporting great Sir Jackie Stewart and former basketball star Shaquille O'Neal.

Murray, a big fan of O'Neal's former side Miami Heat, met the 7ft 1in American after his match.

"He's a big boy, that's for sure," said the Scot. "He was huge. He's very entertaining. I watch him on the TV a lot when I'm over in the States."

Number one seed Djokovic waltzed into the second round after he brushed aside Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan in straight sets on Centre Court.

After taking the first two sets 6-0 and 6-1 in just 47 minutes, the Serbian was at least stretched by the world number 56, before closing out the match 6-4 in the third.

Queen's Club champion Grigor Dimitrov maintained the momentum from his Aegon Championships victory with a 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 6-2 win over American Ryan Harrison.

The 11th-seeded Bulgarian, boyfriend of 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, is being tipped as a dark horse to challenge for Murray's title.

However, the 23-year-old, who next faces Luke Saville of Australia, will take things one step at a time.

''I just won my first match, so I think we are really early on of talking that way, but I think everything is possible,'' he said.

Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus also went through, beating dreadlocked German Dustin Brown 6-4 7-5 2-6 7-6 (7/4), as did seventh seed David Ferrer after his 6-0 6-7 (3/7) 6-1 6-1 win over fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta.

Czech Radek Stepanek knocked out Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-2 6-4 6-4 to set up a clash against Djokovic, but there was more disappointment for Britain on Court 12 as Kyle Edmund went out to Andreas Haider-Maurer of Austria, 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 while Dan Evans lost 6-1 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7/5) to Russian Andrey Kuznetsov.

Marin Cilic, the 26th seed Croatian coached by former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, defeated Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4 6-7 (7/2) 6-2 6-1.

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