Andy Murray has a favourable path, in theory at least, through the Wimbledon draw as he attempts to successfully defend his title but he said last night that he would not look beyond his first-round opponent David Goffin.
As reigning champion, Murray is afforded the honour of opening the first day's action on Centre Court, and will be confident of avoiding the fate which befell Manuel Santana in 1967 and Lleyton Hewitt in 2003, the only two defending champions to be knocked out in the first round the following year.
Murray feels sure the memories of returning to the scene of his greatest triumph will help rather than hinder him. "I know when I walk out on to the court it's going to be different initially but, once I'm two games into the match, I won't be thinking about last year at all," said Murray. "I'll be thinking about this year's event and trying to win it again. Having won last year can only help: the way the final finished; the pressure and the nerves that I dealt with in that match. Coming back from two sets to love down against [Fernando] Verdasco as well; I experienced a lot of things last year that can only help me this year."
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His final victim last year, Novak Djokovic, is likely to lie in wait in the semi-finals, but a plausible Murray route to the last four could involove him facing Slovenia's Blaz Rola - he was beaten by England's James Ward at Queen's Club recently - Spain's No.27 seed Roberto Bautista Agut and Fabio Fognini of Italy, with either Grigor Dimitrov or David Ferrer as a probable quarter-final opponent. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka are all in the other half of the draw.
Goffin, a 24-year-old from Liege, is a more fluent player than his world ranking of 104 suggests. He is sure to have the Scot's undivided attention.
"I'm looking forward to Monday's match and, to be honest, I haven't even looked at the draw today," said Murray. "I approach every tournament the same and, with the depth in the game right now, you can't afford to look past your next opponent. I just need to concentrate on my game and making sure I'm giving myself opportunities against him. I can't wait."
The match should be significantly tougher for Goffin, who has been suffering this season with a quadriceps injury and has never beaten a top-10 player. None the less he said it was his ideal draw. "It is a tough draw but a great match to look forward to," said Goffin. "I have played on No.1 Court but not the Centre. It should be a nice moment, a real experience for me. Andy is the defending champion: a great champion. I can only hope that I am able to play well and enjoy what happens. To play on this court on this beautiful grass on the first day, it is a dream really."
Thierry van Cleemput, Goffin's coach, used a World Cup metaphor to outline his man's chances. "For a coach, this is not a good draw but the player has to go out and use it as an experience to build on for the future," he said. "These are the matches that build a player's character. There have been some surprise results in the World Cup and we have to hope that David can produce one for himself."