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Andy Murray invites Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to watch him in Wimbledon opener

Andy Murray invites Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to watch him in Wimbledon opener

Andy Murray invited Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe to watch him play at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

The former British number one eased into the second round at the All England Club with a comfortable straight-sets win over fellow Brit Ryan Peniston.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian national, was jailed in Iran for six years on spying charges — which she denied — before finally being released last year.

She told the Scot in a meeting last year that she had watched his Wimbledon win in 2016 from a prison cell with Murray now delighted to be able to welcome her to Centre Court.

“It was brilliant she was able to come along. I got to see her very briefly after the match,” he said.

“I spoke to her a while back and found it very emotional talking to her and hearing her story.”

He added: “She hadn’t been to Wimbledon before and after I spoke with her and the story that she told me about watching my Wimbledon final (while) she was in a cell, I felt like I wanted to invite her to come along and watch the tennis in totally different circumstances and hopefully a much more enjoyable experience.”

Zaghari-Ratcliffe watched Murray’s match from the royal box, sat behind the Princess of Wales and seven-time champion Roger Federer.

She explained the harrowing circumstances of how she watched Murray seven years ago telling the BBC’s Today programme she guest edited last year: “When I was first arrested I was in Evin prison in solitary confinement, and for about five months they didn’t allow me to have any books or newspapers.

“There was a TV in the cell I was in but it was off the entire time, and then at some point they decided to let me use the TV but it only had two channels.

“One of them was rubbish Iranian-made soap opera all the time, which was very low quality.

“The other one was a sports channel, which they thought, this was probably a way to just give them something but not quite something.

“Then I put it on, the first thing that was on was Wimbledon that day and that year, 2016.

“They had no idea what they had given me because I was always a big fan of you, but also there I was in solitary confinement watching the match you actually won in the end.”
Murray will return to action against either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Dominic Thiem in the second round on Thursday.

(Photo: Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)

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