Stockport’s Samantha Murray certainly has the right surname for success at Wimbledon but you need a bit more than that and a racquet to beat Maria Sharapova.
The British number five, in only her second appearance at the All England Club, was never likely to progress against the former champion.
Just six months separate them in age but the gulf in their experience was brutally exposed on the All England Club’s Number One court.
Murray has only played four main draw matches in her career, earning £77,000 in prize money from plying her trade on the sport’s hard knocks challenger circuit.
In contrast, Sharapova is celebrating ten years since winning Wimbledon as a 17-year old, has claimed 32 titles and made over £17 million in prize money and millions more in endorsements.
They play the same sport but they live in very different worlds.
However, Murray gave her opponent more of a match than the 6-1, 6-0 scoreline suggests and will feel good about booming four aces past her experienced rival.
She even had a chance to break in the opening game of the match before the nerves tightened and the number five seed restored normal service.
“I had a few chances but I just couldn’t quite convert them,” said Murray, whose Dad is even called Andy.
“I tried to play my game and be aggressive and I think I managed that. I just didn’t execute it well enough.
“It was a great opportunity, a really good experience to play someone of her level. She’s by far the highest player I’ve played.”
Murray will bank £27,000 for her first round exit and claims the experience will only motivate her as she returns to the hard grind of the tennis tour and bids to inch her current 242 ranking upwards.
“It’s a big help for the rest of the year,” she added. “It lets you travel more and it’s not so much strain in deciding where to play.
“The money definitely helps in being able to build a schedule that’s right for your tennis rather than having to worry financially whether you’re able to go to those tournaments.
“Everybody wants to play the better tournaments. You just got to keep climbing the rankings. I’m going to have to go back to playing more lower tournaments to try and build my ranking and get back here on my own right.”
Sharapova – whose confidence is brimming after her recent win at the French Open – shouldn’t really be troubled here until a likely quarter-final with Serena Williams.
But the same was said last year, when she exited at the second round to Michelle Larcher de Brito, a player only previously known for having a louder grunt than the Russian.
“Just a couple of weeks ago I was on the clay and I made a bit of a slow start but I’m very happy with the way I progressed throughout the match,” said Sharapova.
“She’s got a very aggressive game. She obviously likes grass, she served and volleyed and really went for her shots. However, she probably made a few more unforced errors than she would have liked.
“This is a new tournament, a new opportunity but you have to start from scratch and you have to respect your first round opponent. I’ve got a great chance here and so many great memories of Wimbledon.”
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Main image courtesy of Si Robi, with thanks.