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Wimbledon ‘ready and prepared’ with Andy Murray tribute if retirement confirmed

Andy Murray is set to play at Wimbledon for one last time this summer (Steven Paston/PA)
Andy Murray is set to play at Wimbledon for one last time this summer (Steven Paston/PA)

Plans are in place to pay tribute to Andy Murray, but the All England Club are yet to receive confirmation that this summer will be his final Wimbledon.

Three-time major winner Murray revealed in February his intention to retire later this year after intense speculation over his future.

No official announcement has been made by Murray, a two-time winner in SW19 and Wimbledon’s first British male champion in 77 years back in 2013, but All England Club chiefs are “ready to go” once they get the green light from the 37-year-old.

Chief executive Sally Bolton said: “We’ve certainly got plans in place and we’re ready and prepared, but ultimately it’s Andy’s decision.

“We certainly will be talking to members of Andy’s team, but probably wouldn’t share any more details on the plans because they are flexible and we will be very much guided by Andy.

“He needs to make the decision for himself and we can respond accordingly.

“I think we will all share some of the same emotions as and when Andy decides to retire.”

While there is wiggle room for when to pay tribute to Murray given he is set to compete in both the singles and doubles competitions, no change will occur to the start time on Centre Court.

Murray was one of several critics of the decision to keep play on Centre at 1.30pm, which resulted in his 2023 second-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas being completed across two days.

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic has also voiced his opposition to the fixed start time in each of the last two Championships.

“Play starts at 1.30pm on Centre Court this year,” Bolton confirmed.

“It is fair to say the inclement weather we had last year meant this was a subject for much debate.

“We have reviewed it, thought long and hard, looked at the data around length of matches, but we’ve very confident and happy with the decision we’ve made this year.”

Djokovic is set to miss Wimbledon after knee surgery and Rafael Nadal will skip the Championships to focus on clay-court preparation for the Olympic Games tennis tournament, which will take place at Roland Garros in Paris.

All England Club chair Debbie Jevans has no concerns the tournament will lack star quality, and said: “I am confident the excitement levels that I certainly feel going into my first Championships is felt by millions of people.

“I am not nervous at all about that and the new generation coming through and the wonderful players they are.”

Jevans succeeded Ian Hewitt as chair after last year’s Wimbledon and is tasked with leading the All England Club’s controversial planned expansion, including a new 8,000-seater stadium and 38 other courts on land previously used by Wimbledon Golf Club but has been met with opposition from some local residents and MPs.

The Mayor of London’s office took charge of the decision in January after Wandsworth Council rejected the proposal, but no firm date has been set for the public hearing when Greater London Authority will make its decision.

“Meetings continue with GLA officers and we hope a public hearing to determine the application will be held later this summer,” Jevans revealed.

“We’re confident the Mayor’s team will recognise the significant economic, sporting and community benefits that our proposals will unlock.

“We’re looking forward to a public hearing on our application and will continue to work with all the relevant partners to deliver what is one of the greatest sporting transformations since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

A record total prize fund of £50million has been announced for this year’s tournament alongside a tweak to the queue with an “activation phase” to offer an area to congregate whilst spectators wait for the gates to open.

A ban remains on Russian and Belarusian flags being taken into Wimbledon, but this has not been extended to Israel or Palestine flags. Spectators are able to wear t-shirts of respective political parties on July 4, which is General Election Day.