Britain's Andy Murray marked his long-awaited comeback at Wimbledon with a tough four-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili and Mats Wilander paid tribute to him afterwards.
Murray appeared to be well on course to saunter through with a straight-sets victory to make his return a comfortable one when the match took a crazy turn for him.
The 34-year-old, who has seemingly endured no end of injury woes over the last few years, delighted the Centre Court crowd as he roared into a 6-4 6-3 5-0 lead and was seemingly cruising.
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Yet somehow, Basilashvili staged a remarkable recovery when facing near-certain defeat, to break four times in succession and win seven games on the bounce. He even saved two match points.
But after the players left the court and the roof was closed for the evening, Murray returned to finish the job as he closed out a challenging but successful comeback match to reach the second round.
The two-time champion had limped off the same court following a quarter-final defeat to Sam Querrey in 2017 - then as the top seed - and had not been back since with hip surgeries in 2018 and 2019, so this was a moment of jubilation and relief.
Wilander, speaking to Eurosport, hailed Murray's determination to come through what ended up being a very stern test for the Brit in tough circumstances.
"What a great match, from the first point to the last," Wilander said. "Murray realised that he had to change his game when he needed to, which is so hard to do.
He showed in the fourth set when he had to that he is a great champion still.
"I felt sick to my stomach [when Murray squandered third set lead]. On those big points in the third set he was becoming too passive and you can't do that - you have to go out there and beat your opponent.
"He had to go back to what he was doing at the start of the match and he would have been thinking, 'If I lose this match, am I ever going to play Wimbledon again?' Because that would have been so painful.
"I think he needed a match like this. We need and want him to perform. Murray has to go through these kind of matches. He hates to lose and he realised he had to change in the fourth set and get aggressive again."
Thankfully for Murray, he was able to gather himself after his third-set slump and regain some poise to respond and close out the match. The break for the roof to be closed on Centre Court certainly appeared to help give him that reset.
The atmosphere only got more intense as the fans willed Murray on to victory, and he finally sealed the deal with his fourth match point at nearly 10pm UK time to give him and his camp a great deal of relief. With his comeback win now in the bag, he has nothing to lose in front of his home fans.
The 34-year-old will next take on a qualifier as France's Arthur Rinderknech and Oscar Otte of Germany prepare to battle it out in their opening-round match. A third-round clash with Canada's Denis Shapovalov - the 10th seed - could then await.
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Watch daily evening highlights of all the best action from Wimbledon on Eurosport 1, plus the men's and women's finals live on Eurosport 2. All coverage is also available to stream via eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app.
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