Murray saluted at Wimbledon despite doubles exit as Djokovic wins

Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Jacob Fearnley at the end of their second-round match at Wimbledon (Ben Stansall)
Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Jacob Fearnley at the end of their second-round match at Wimbledon (Ben Stansall)

Andy Murray was given an emotional tribute after his final Wimbledon tournament started with a men's doubles defeat as long-time rival Novak Djokovic came through a testing workout on Thursday.

British two-time Wimbledon champion Murray, playing alongside brother Jamie, went down 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 to John Peers and Rinky Hijikata to the bitter disappointment of a partisan Centre Court crowd.

Murray, the Wimbledon champion in 2013 and 2016, was entered in the men's doubles and mixed doubles at the All England Club after running out of time to be fit for the singles following recent back surgery.

Murray's parents Judy and Willie were on Centre Court alongside wife Kim and two of their daughters.

But the former world number one could not give his loyal fans the win they craved as the light faded on a cool summer evening, with the pairing failing to convert a set point in the opening set and being broken twice in the second.

After the defeat, the packed crowd watched a video of Murray's career highlights, with warm tributes paid by a galaxy of stars including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and former mixed doubles partner Serena Williams.

Djokovic was courtside to witness his career-long rival's emotional evening in the spotlight alongside past greats including John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova.

"Look, it is hard because I would love to keep playing but I can't, a tearful Murray said during an on-court interview. "Physically it is too tough now, all of the injuries, they have added up and they haven't been insignificant.

"I want to play forever, I love the sport and it's given me so much. It's taught me loads of lessons over the years I can use for the rest of my life. I don't want to stop so it is hard."

Defeat does not yet spell the end for Murray's Wimbledon journey as he is also scheduled to play mixed doubles with British compatriot and former US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

The 37-year-old Scot, who has been ravaged by injuries in recent years is targeting the Olympics in Paris, starting later this month, as the final tournament of a glittering career.

- Djokovic tested -

Earlier, seven-time champion Djokovic came through a testing battle against British wild card Jacob Fearnley 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5.

It appeared to be business as usual for the Serbian as he coasted into a two-set lead on Centre Court but the 277th-ranked Fearnley broke his illustrious opponent twice in the third set to reduce the deficit.

Fearnley, playing in his first Grand Slam, carved out two break points in the sixth game of the fourth set but missed his chance and Djokovic broke in the 11th game before serving out for the win.

Djokovic, who is playing with protection after a recent knee operation, is seeking to equal Federer's record of eight Wimbledon men's titles and is aiming for a record 25th Grand Slam title.

"I hope as the tournament progresses I'll feel better," he said.

"I don't know if I was comfortable in my own skin in the third and fourth. You have rough days when you're not feeling your best."

Jessica Pegula, seeded five, became the highest-ranked player to exit the tournament so far, going down 6-4, 6-7 (7/9), 6-1 to China's Wang Xinyu, who celebrated her first win against a top-10 player.

Wang will face Harriet Dart, who defeated Nottingham champion Katie Boulter in an all-British clash for a spot in the last 16.

World number one Iga Swiatek progressed smoothly at the expense of Croatia's Petra Martic -- her 21st straight win.

A single break in each set was enough to give the 23-year-old, who has never been past the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, a 6-4, 6-3 victory.

"It's not the first time I've come into this tournament with a 'streak'," she said. "It's not that easy to have this baggage on your shoulders.

"This year feels different. I don't feel like everyone is focusing on it. Two years ago was a lot harder when it was 30-something matches (37)."

Elsewhere on day four of Wimbledon, two-time finalist Ons Jabeur beat US qualifier Robin Montgomery while Elena Rybakina, the 2022 women's champion, finished strongly to beat Germany's Laura Siegemund 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

On the men's side, French Open finalist Alexander Zverev saw off Marcos Giron in straight sets but Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas crashed out in four sets to Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori.

Poland's Hubert Hurkacz, seen as an outside tip for the title, was forced to quit his second-round match against Arthur Fils with a knee injury.