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Stars turn out for Andy Murray as Scot launches Wimbledon title defence

It was a star-studded family affair for Andy Murray as he walked on to Wimbledon's Centre Court to a standing ovation from cheering fans - a packed crowd that included his parents, grandparents, and a host of celebrities.

With England out of the World Cup, the nation's hopes are on the Scot to make it two in a row following his historic victory last summer against Novak Djokovic, and tickets have sold "quicker than we've seen", according to an official.

After ending the wait for a British male singles champion at Wimbledon after 77 years, Murray will try to emulate Fred Perry once more by retaining the title - and the path to that goal has begun with his clash against Belgium's David Goffin.

Acknowledging the crowd's welcome with a wave, Murray's big entrance was watched by a audience that included his mother Judy and girlfriend Kim Sears, who was sporting traditional Wimbledon white in a lace dress.

The two women greeted each other with a kiss before taking their seats.

Murray, 27, had family in the Royal Box too as his maternal grandparents, Roy and Shirley Erskine, and his father William Murray, with his partner Samantha Watson, took their seats there.

Scotland Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and retired American basketball player Shaquille O'Neal were also in the exclusive area, along with the Duke of Kent, Princess Michael of Kent and sports presenter Steve Rider.

Among the celebrities at the opening day of the tournament was comedian Jack Whitehall, who said he was hopeful Murray would give cause for sporting celebration following England's World Cup exit.

"As a Scotsman, I don't know if that's on his list of priorities," he joked.

Other celebrities at the All England Club were James Bond star Naomie Harris, who was one of those heading to Centre Court via the Evian Live Young VIP Suite, along with actor Douglas Booth, Whitehall and Mobo winner Laura Mvula.

It was love-all for Sophie Ellis Bextor, who brought along husband Richard Jones, Ellie Goulding and new boyfriend Dougie Poynter, Jesse Metcalfe and his date Cara Santana, and Pixie Lott and her boyfriend Oliver Cheshire.

Joely Richardson was another star taking in the action, while Kathleen Turner swapped the West End stage for a spot in the audience, and Vanessa White from The Saturdays was also spotted.

Also in attendance were presenter TV Jameela Jamil, Game Of Thrones star Natalie Dormer, and actor and model Jamie Campbell Bower.

Fans queued in their thousands to get a taste of the opening day's action and said the atmosphere in the famous queue was "buzzing" - probably helped by the warm sunny weather.

One of Murray's biggest fans was at the front of the queue, having arrived at the venue at 7.30am on Saturday.

Stuart Bere, 39, a gardener from Lincolnshire, has booked the next two weeks off work.

He said of the queue: "It's buzzing. It's the best atmosphere it's been for years. The time just flew by and, to be honest, you're just chilling out."

Mr Bere drove to Wimbledon with his car packed up like he was "going on holiday".

Well prepared, he has been feasting on rice and fish cooked on a portable stove, and he said it was all worth it.

"We're going to see a British Wimbledon champion walk out (on Centre Court), which will be amazing," he said.

One woman who has been in the queue since 10am on Saturday is hoping for a double celebration.

Linda Loader, a lab technician from Yateley in Hampshire, is 58 today, and hopes that she will be celebrating not only her birthday but a Murray win as well.

She has followed the Scot's career "right from the start", and said she gets emotional just thinking about his successes.

After spending the last two nights in Wimbledon, she joked she was coping well "for a 58-year-old".

Lee Dunning, a 36-year-old sales assistant from Manchester, has also booked the next fortnight off.

"I do see it as my summer break," he said.

Mr Dunning arrived with his friend John Mulroy, 51, at 8.30am yesterday and both men said their predictions that the World Cup would cut the length of the queue were proved incorrect.

Mr Dunning said his friends question his love for Wimbledon and call tennis "that elitist sport".

"That's what I like about it. The tradition of it," he said.

One of the oldest people to camp out for a ticket is 70-year-old Angela Spencer, from Woodstock in Oxfordshire.

The pensioner, who has come to the event alone, hailed the "absolutely brilliant organisation" at the tournament and in the queue.

Asked what her family and friends thought about her solo tennis adventure, she said: "They're used to me camping out and doing daft things. I just enjoy this sort of thing."

Friends Dave Jackson, 33, and Jackson Todd, 31, from Belfast, arrived last night at 9pm.

Mr Jackson, who was at Wimbledon in 2010 - a year when the World Cup was also on at the same time - said he found this year's queue "so much busier".

He said of the tournament: "It's cool now. It's just very cool. It's chic. It's fashionable. Before, it would have been tennis fans."

Mr Todd said he is looking forward to people-watching.

Hashtag #WelcomeBackAndy is one of the top trends on Twitter.

Part of a social media campaign, any fan who tweets @Wimbledon with that hashtag could receive one of five digital photos of Murray's victory last year, autographed and inscribed with a unique message from him and personalised to their Twitter handle.

Organisers said it is the first time that such a campaign, known as a digigraph, has been run in tennis.

After his 6-1 6-4 7-5 win, Murray said it was a "good start", and described the enthusiastic welcome afforded to him on Centre Court as "nice".

Adding: "I was nervous this morning, I was nervous yesterday."

He said today's match on the court where he won his title last year "brings back a lot of good memories".

A ball girl is believed to have fainted on one of the courts today, but was able to get back to work after she was seen by medics.

A Wimbledon spokesman said: "She's fine. She has been checked out by the St John Ambulance and is ready to return to her on-court duties."

Murray will now face Slovenian Blaz Rola on Wednesday.

Rola admits he does not know what to expect when he takes to Centre Court for the first time, if the match is to be played there.

He said he thinks he will embrace it, but added: "Hopefully I don't poop my pants and don't play well."

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