Oscar Otte was moved to tears by Andy Murray’s physical struggles but will try to end the Scot’s Wimbledon comeback on Centre Court on Wednesday.
German Otte’s first-round clash with fellow qualifier Arthur Rinderknech was suspended on Monday night at 9-9 in the fifth set and the pair waited most of Tuesday before resuming.
And it was Otte, making his Wimbledon debut, who held his nerve to win only the second deciding tie-break in All England Club history, coming through 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-7 (5) 13-12 (2).
The 27-year-old did not initially realise he had won having thought the tie-break was to 10 points rather than seven, and he said: “First of all I’m just happy to be through. I was just waiting the whole day. It was mentally very tough.
“With my ranking, you don’t have the options to have big matches like this, and I’m just really looking forward for the whole day tomorrow.”
Otte has followed Murray’s battle to recover from hip resurfacing surgery, with the 34-year-old playing singles at Wimbledon for the first time since 2017.
“Of course he’s huge in tennis,” said the German. “When I watched his documentary (Andy Murray: Resurfacing, which came out in 2019), actually, I was crying.
“It was so emotional and so inspiring. I’m probably talking for other players, too. He’s just a huge icon in the sport.
“It will be a pretty big match tomorrow. The crowd probably won’t be on my side, but that’s OK for me, of course. I have my coach here, my girlfriend, I think it can be enough, but we will see.
“Everybody knows he’s one of the best tennis players ever and, when he gets in control of his body, I think everybody knows he can still beat the top guys and come far in tournaments.”
Otte is ranked down at 151 but led by two sets to love against Alexander Zverev in the first round of the French Open before losing in five.
He believes that experience can help him against Murray, saying: “The first two and a half sets were probably the best sets of my whole life. I was playing unreal.
“I was talking a lot with my team afterwards, and we were trying to figure out why it wasn’t enough in the end. Of course Sascha, he’s also an unreal player. Even though I lost against Sascha, I think for tomorrow I will be better prepared.”
The key for Murray will be how well he has recovered physically from the drama of his four-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili.
It was a positive sign that the Scot was on the practice schedule on Tuesday having recalled what happened the last time he reached the second round of a grand slam at the US Open last summer with a five-set victory over Yoshihito Nishioka.
He said: “I actually did pretty well in the first round against Nishioka and felt fine that evening, and then I woke up the next day and could barely walk. My groin was really painful and I didn’t recover from that match at all.”
Murray is looking to reach the third round of a slam for the first time since limping through to the Wimbledon quarter-finals four years ago.