ANDY MURRAY has spoken of the relief at his Wimbledon victory last year and his happiness at how it offered comfort to a grief-stricken family.
The Scot was reflecting on his successful campaign last year that included a visit by Esme Morris Macintyre to Centre Court on the first Monday of the tournament as his guest.
The 19-year-old, from Kinross, who was suffering from a brain tumour, had put a visit to Centre Court and a meal with Murray on her wish-list.
The 27-year-old obliged with a seat just below the royal box and later Esme and her family dined with Murray and his team in the players' lounge. Esme died as Murray took control of the final against Novak Djokovic just under two weeks later.
The meeting was featured in a BBC documentary early this week and the Wimbledon champion said: "The story that struck most was of Esme and her family. She was a lovely girl and it was a pleasure to meet and chat with her and her family last year.
"Although Esme didn't get a chance to see me lift the trophy, for the family to be able to use my win as something positive to enable them cope with the incredibly sad event of losing Esme, then that makes me happy."
Esme's father, Dave Morris, last night emphasised his gratitude to Murray and his mother, Judy, for organising the visit.
He said his daughter had spent her last moments watching the match on her laptop, adding: "She slipped away just as Andy was taking control of the second set.
"So that was an amazing end to her life, getting the opportunity to visit Wimbledon in a very special way and then enjoying Andy's semi-final win, until the end came during the final."
Esme's Adventure, a series of events she organised with celebrities, raised money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Murray also spoke of his relief at winning Wimbledon, saying: "The pressure of wanting to win definitely was finally released. I had worked very hard for a long time to get myself into a position where I was able to win the championship. Obviously I'm still feeling the pressure and the nerves but this year, they are completely different.
"I like having the nerves and I'm able to use them positively."
One Direction are believed to be heading to Wimbledon today to watch Murray play Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the last 16 and the Dunblane player said: "I have a lot of respect for anyone that has to deal with that level of hysteria and fame.
"I'm still quite fortunate, I can often put a cap on and walk my dogs with Kim [Sears, his partner] and go relatively unnoticed. However, I can't imagine what it would be like if every time I left the house there were crowds of screaming fans.
"It must be tough, but then at the same time, if it weren't for those screaming fans then they wouldn't be as huge as they are globally, so I guess everything comes at a price."