Andy Murray column: Marcus Willis deserves Wimbledon moment

Andy Murray
Wimbledon on the BBC
Venue: All England Club Dates: 27 June-10 July
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I think sport can play a role in taking people's minds off more serious matters and Marcus Willis' story would make anyone feel good.

For the world number 772 to be playing Roger Federer, arguably the best male player ever, on Centre Court at Wimbledon is amazing.

It's just a great story that's happened to a really good fun guy, and it's nice that the public seem to have taken to him. If he was an absolute prat I'm sure some people would just think, 'He's an idiot, I'm not interested', but he's definitely the kind of person who deserves this moment.

I haven't seen Marcus much over the last four or five years but whenever I've spent any time with him, he just makes you smile and laugh. I don't know anyone that doesn't like him.

So I hope he enjoys the experience on Wednesday but also that he keeps on playing beyond Wimbledon.

He's proved over the last 10 days that if he can maintain this motivation and concentration over a whole season, there's no reason he can't be playing at this level a little bit more often.

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'Marcus turned up late, and totally drenched'

There are plenty of stories about Marcus on the tour - he's quite a character.

My physio told me that a few years ago he was at a tournament where Marcus was playing, and every time Marcus hit a ball, rather than grunting he was shouting "Djokovic!" or "Federer!" or "Nadal!" depending on which shot he was playing. For a whole match!

Another time, my fitness trainer went on a trip to Livorno in Italy when Marcus was 14 and he'd been called for his doubles match, but his partner had no idea where he was.

The place was right next to the sea and Marcus eventually turned up late, and totally drenched.

His partner said, 'Where have you been?' and Marcus explained that some of the guys had dared him to swim out to one of the buoys in the sea, so obviously he did it - in his kit - and turned up completely soaked.

I'm sure there are plenty more Marcus stories I don't know about as well!

Marcus Willis' match against Roger Federer is scheduled third on Centre Court on Wednesday
Marcus Willis' match against Roger Federer is scheduled third on Centre Court on Wednesday

'I'm checking the news every night'

It's great that so many people enjoy Wimbledon, and that the British players are providing a feelgood factor so far, but the way the country is run is more important than any sporting event.

There's obviously a lot going on right now and I'm checking the news every night before I go to bed, then first thing when I wake up in the morning.

And as well as catching up on the news, I am also still trying to watch the football wherever I can fit it in.

'I was seeing myself on TV and in the papers'

The media attention is the thing that I remember most from my first Wimbledon in 2005, because it was full-on and it was so new.

I was getting followed, there were photographers everywhere, at all of my practices, I couldn't get anywhere without people wanting to talk to me. I was seeing myself on TV or reading about myself in the papers.

That's hard when you're very young and not used to it, it can take you a little bit by surprise.

Hopefully Marcus is coping with it all - I get the feeling he'll deal with that stuff absolutely fine.

I was saying to my wife after he won his first-round match, 'You've got to listen to his interviews because he's just so funny.' I heard his press conference was awesome.

I'm practising in the morning, so one thing is for sure, I'll be heading home to watch the match like everyone else.

Andy Murray was talking to BBC Sport's Piers Newbery.

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