Wimbledon 2014 Sketch: A fainting ballgirl, Victoria Azarenka's candle for Lionel Messi, but Andy Murray's not flummoxed by labradoodle rescue

As fellow Brits (and a ball girl) fell like flies, the Scot sailed through in front of his adoring fans

Shortly after coming off Wimbledon’s Centre Court, having calmly dispatched the Belgian David Goffin in straight sets, Andy Murray found himself in his winner’s news conference being pressed for more specific details on his recent rescue of a labradoodle on the streets of SW19.

The defending champion looked confused for just a moment, before replying sardonically: “That didn’t really come into my thinking too much today before the match.”

As the first British man to return to the All England Club as champion since Fred Perry in 1936, Murray can perhaps be forgiven the odd sarcastic reply. Welcome to Wimbledon 2014, where the opening day saw his fellow British players dropping like flies in the 25C heat (Naomi Broady excepted). No wonder a ball girl fainted.

At 1pm, Murray returned to the scene of his 2013 triumph to the delight of a typically enthusiastic crowd which included his girlfriend, parents, grandparents and an array of less conventional supporters such as Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the US basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.

Outside the complex, at the head of Britain’s most famous and civilised queue, was gardener Stuart Bere, 39, from Lincolnshire, who had booked a fortnight off work to see the tournament. “It’s buzzing. It’s the best atmosphere it’s been for years,” he said.

If Murray was feeling the weight of expection, he didn’t show it. But the occasion became rather too much for a ball girl on Court Number One, who fainted during the match between Victoria Azarenka and Miranja Lucic-Baroni and had to be gently ushered out by the umpire. Much like Murray, she’ll be back to serve again, as a Wimbledon spokesman confirmed later that she was “fine” and “ready to return to her on-court duties”.

Azarenka, the Belorussian world number eight, went on to win the match 6-3, 7-5 and spent most of her post-match press conference not talking about tennis. On her right fingernail she had emblazoned the Argentina flag in homage to her favourite footballer Lionel Messi, whom she described as “so little, so cute”. When asked: “What goes through your mind when you watch Messi?” she replied: “You don’t want to know.”


One can only imagine what some of the more upright members of the All England Club make of such ribaldry, given that in the run-up to the tournament authorities have reportedly tightened up the already strict “almost entirely white” on-court clothing policy, telling players that a 1cm coloured trim is all that is permitted.

Read more: Murray begins title defence with convincing win
Murray gives the performance of a champion

Visible red underwear is definitely out, with transgressors facing a humiliating trip to the referee’s office for an education in how to dress appropriately. But yesterday the array of pristine whites on display suggested that the SW19 style police have won this particular round.

Murray’s next opponent is the Slovenian Blaz Rola, who he will face on Wednesday. Asked how he felt about playing on one of Wimbledon’s show courts against the defending champion, the 23-year-old replied with Murray-esque honesty: “Hopefully I don’t poop my pants and don’t play well.”

Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service