Oscar Otte has never played Andy Murray. But when they walk on Centre Court Wednesday for their second-round match at Wimbledon, the German will bring plenty of respect for the former World No. 1, and not just because of his tennis achievements.
“He’s huge in tennis. When I watched his documentary when it came out, I was actually crying,” Otte said. “It was so emotional and so inspiring. I’m probably talking for other players, too. He’s just a huge icon in the sport.”
“Andy Murray: Resurfacing” was released in 2019, and it detailed the Scot’s gruelling journey back from hip resurfacing surgery and the lengths to which the three-time Grand Slam champion went to continue his career. The emotional intensity of the documentary caught Otte’s attention.
“Of course it’s difficult to perform [at a] high level with surgeries like this, but 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 [go] far in tournaments,” Otte said. “I’m actually not really surprised. He has a big team behind him, physios, everything. I think they are taking very good care of him, and he’s just an unreal athlete and one of the best ever.”
The 27-year-old is competing in his first Wimbledon main draw. He has previously played the Roland Garros main draw three times. This year in Paris, Otte won the first two sets of his first-round match against Alexander Zverev, before ultimately falling in five sets. He said: “The first two-and-a-half sets were probably the best sets of my whole life. I was playing unreal.”
“With my ranking, you don’t have the option to have big matches like this [often],” Otte said. “I’m just really looking forward for the whole day tomorrow.”
The World No. 151 made the most of his debut at SW19 by beating Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 13-12(2) across Monday and Tuesday. After completing his victory, Otte did not realise he had won. But when the chair umpire announced he had triumphed, the German showed plenty of emotions.
“I actually thought it was going to 10. I don’t know why. I was talking with my coach before the match, and we were both saying in case it goes up to 12-All, it’s a [Match] Tie-break,” Otte said. “I actually didn’t realise as I was pretty shocked when I heard ‘game, set, match, Otte.’ Better this way around than the other way around, for sure.”
It was just the second men’s singles match at Wimbledon to go to a Match Tie-break after Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in the 2019 final.
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The 27-year-old will hope to summon his best as he tries to reach the third round at a major for the first time. Otte knows this is a big moment in his career.
“[It] will be a pretty big match tomorrow. The crowd probably won’t be on my side, but that’s okay for me, of course,” Otte said. “I have my coach here, my girlfriend I think can be enough, but we will see. In general, he’s an inspiring athlete and I’m really happy to have a chance to play against him tomorrow.”