Sweaty Murray a mess as William, Kate wow Wimbledon

Prince William and his wife Catherine made a surprise debut in the Wimbledon royal box on Monday, leaving British favourite Andy Murray wishing he'd bothered to shave and apologising for being sweaty.

The newlyweds were given a huge reception by the Centre Court crowd on a sweltering day as they took their prime seats to watch Murray take on Frenchman Richard Gasquet for a place in the quarter-finals.

Fourth seed Murray is used to royal command performances, having played before Queen Elizabeth II last year on her first visit to the southwest London club since 1977.

But Murray was caught offguard, wishing he had got the razor out and freshened up before being introduced to the newly-created Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

"I didn't know they were coming. I wasn't told," the unkempt Scot said.

"No-one else had heard anything. I saw them when I went out. It's obviously great to get the chance to play in front of them."

Murray, sporting a straggly beard and roasting in the 30-degree heat, admitted he looked a right royal mess.

"If I'd known they were coming, I would have shaved. I was thinking to myself as I came off I was sweaty and very hairy. I said to them, I'm sorry, I'm a bit sweaty. But, yeah, it was really nice," he said.

"Those things are always quite difficult because there's a lot of people around, so it's not the most natural way to be introduced to people. But it was very nice to get to meet them."

Murray said he was considering cleaning up his act in case of further royal surprises.

"I might shave tonight," he said.

"I've been told to shave by a few people the last five or six days, and I just haven't got round to it. It's at the length now where it actually hurts a little bit, so I always put it off a wee bit till I have a bit of time.

"My hair is starting to get more manly now. It hurts a little bit."

Murray insisted his wispy growth was not a cry for a Roger Federer-style razor blade sponsorship deal.

"The thing is, I wouldn't have the discipline," Murray said.

"I think all the Gillette athletes have to shave every day. I think they have to be clean shaven. I probably wouldn't be able to keep that up."

Murray reached the quarter-finals with an impressive 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-2 win and bowed to the royal couple as he left the court, reviving an old tradition.

Gasquet admitted that seeing the couple had been the only highlight of a disappointing day.

"It's very nice for tennis and for me to see them. I will have a great memory. But I didn't lose because they came, no," he insisted.

William and Kate's visit to Wimbledon was a private affair and not to fulfil any royal duties.

Murray is attempting to become the first British Wimbledon men's champion since Fred Perry in 1936.

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