Can Andy Murray win Wimbledon back to back?

 
Nassos Stylianou
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Can Andy Murray ride the pressure and win Wimbledon again? (Source:Getty)

After ending Britain's 77-year-long wait for a Wimbledon men singles champion last year, the pressure is back on Andy Murray this afternoon as he begins the defence of his title.

At his last press conference before the start of the competition the Scot was asked by a journalist how it felt to have the "hopes of a despondent nation" resting on his shoulders, following England's disappointing exit from the World Cup last week.

Murray may have attempted to shrug off the question in true typified sportsperson "my focus is solely on the first match" manner, but will having won the competition last year lift some of the immense pressure that comes with being a British player at SW19, or will defending the trophy count against him?

How do Wimbledon winners do the following year?

The Scot can take solace in the fact that of the 20 Wimbledon men's singles champions in the Open era since 1968, the period from when professionals could compete in the big tournaments, half have gone on to win the competition again.

Actually, six have won the competition the following year.

So if Murray is to regain his title, he will be joining an elite group of champions including Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer who have won back to back titles following from their first win in the Open Era.

US tennis legend Jimmy Connors, the outspoken Jon McEnroe, Stefan Edberg and French Open champion Rafael Nadal have all won the trophy again despite failing in the defence of their title.

Won back to back after first winWon more than once after losing defenceOne time winners
Rod LaverJimmy ConnorsStan Smith
John NewcombeJohn McEnroeJan Kodes
Bjorn BorgStefan EdbergArthur Ashe
Boris BeckerRafael NadalPat Cash
Pete Sampras Andre Agassi
Roger Federer Michael Stich
Riuchard Krajicek
Goran Ivanisevic
Leyton Hewitt
Novak Djokovic

While Murray has certainly not swept all before him in the year following his Wimbledon triumph, losing out in the three slams since and dogged by a back injury and inconsistent performances, this has not stopped others in the past.

After winning in 1970, John Newcombe failed to follow up his title with another slam victory but returned to triumph at SW19, as did Bjorn Borg and Boris Becker after him.

So despite coming into the tournament seeded third following a largely disappointing year since the historic win last July, Andy Murray can still look to history for inspiration as he begins the defence of his title against Belgian David Goffin on Centre Court this afternoon.

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