Andy Murray gave his shirt to Justin Rodrigues, centre, who cheered on the Scot with his friend Glenn Chambers
Sir Andy Murray gave two of his fans the night of their lives on Centre Court as he thanked them for powering him to a dramatic five-set second-round triumph at Wimbledon.
Murray singled out a group of fans in the bottom row for helping him keep the faith after he dropped two sets to set up a nail-biting finale.
During the match, Murray could be seen shouting at the group as he tried to pump himself up inside a rocking Centre Court.
After his win, he walked over to thank two of them – handing Justin Rodrigues, 33, a South African accountant in a Scotland rugby shirt, his own playing jersey for the match.
He also gave Rodrigues’s friend, Glenn Chambers, his umbrella. Rodrigues, who has Scottish heritage through his mother, said the bond with his hero had been formed midway through the match.
“I think we just connected the whole match,” he said, explaining how Murray regularly made eye contact with him. “I was just shouting at him ‘Come on, Andy’, ‘Come on, Andy’, and we just connected.
Justin Rodrigues said it was one of the best nights of his life
“I had a Scottish rugby jersey on and he saw that. Me and my friend (Glenn) were just eyeballing him. It was only probably from the third set onwards, but from there onwards, he was just looking at us.
“After the game he came and gave me the shirt and he gave my friend the umbrella and he just said ‘thanks’. It’s the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
“My mother is the biggest Andy Murray fan in the whole world. She’s Scottish, and she absolutely adores him and I adore him as well, but not nearly as much as my mother, but a close second.”
Rodrigues, who moved to nearby Earlsfield with his wife five years ago, said it had been one of the best nights of his life.
Rodrigues said his Scotland rugby shirt caught Murray's eye
“We just managed to get through the All England club online,” he added. “It was luck of the draw – we managed to roll the dice. It was amazing. I’ve shed tears with Murray over the years, when he won his Wimbledon, when he won his gold medal – I’m just the biggest fan.”
Friend Glenn added: “Andy just picked up a few people in the crowd and he just fed off the energy.”
Britain’s two-time Wimbledon champion eventually secured victory against the German Oscar Otte, with a glorious winning lob that defied his advancing years.
Murray, who has not featured in the singles for four years due to career-threatening injury, struggled with the slippery conditions that have become a talking point this week, but said afterwards he picked the fans in the crowd to feed off when he lost a point.
“I was basically staring at them after each point and engaging with them,” he added. “We were feeding off each other. I know what a great atmosphere is in tennis and that was definitely one of them.”