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Priest survives Andy Murray’s serve

12 July 2013

by Pat Ashworth

lucy ray/daily mail/solo syndication

THE Revd Angus Aagaard - the first entry in Crockford's Clerical Directory - has a new claim to fame. He can boast that he was the first man to receive Andy Murray's serve after the champion's defeat of Novak Djokovic in the men's final at Wimbledon, on Sunday afternoon.

Mr Aagard, who is Team Rector of North Lambeth, was walking his dog on Monday when he got a call from a colleague to say that Mr Murray was expected at the Black Prince Community Hub in the parish that day. He rushed home, picked up a couple of things that he hoped Mr Murray would sign for an impending charity auction, and headed for the sports centre, intending to say hello if he got the chance.

The event was promoting Adidas, one of Mr Murray's sponsors. "Before I knew it, I was talking to the Adidas head, and he said: 'Right, you're the first person he's going to serve to since Djokovic,'" Mr Aagard said on Tuesday.

"It was the most unlikely place, in the middle of our estate, for a guy who had been watched by 20 million people the day before. They chose to put the event in a regeneration area where, to be honest, there isn't a lot of space for sport, to say 'Look, tennis should be for all,' which we totally endorse."

Mr Aagard admits to playing tennis "a little bit, occasionally", with his wife, but prefers playing rugby, and is a Church Times Cup cricketer. "I managed in some way to get the ball back over, and had my picture taken with Murray by the cup," he says.

The two objects that Mr Murray signed for Mr Aagaard were a poster from a fête, and a clerical collar. He was also given a tennis ball from the championships, but forfeited it on Tuesday morning, when he took an assembly in front of 500 boys at Archbishop Tenison's School.

"I held it up and said: 'If anyone can guess whom Andy Murray served to next after Djokovic, I'll give them this ball,'" he told them, not expecting that anyone would. "But one bright spark put his hand up and said: 'Sir, it was you.' So that was it. I lost it."

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