Sat, Oct 19, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Drugs test nearly derails Murray’s day at the palace

AFP, LONDON

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray poses with his girlfriend, Kim Sears, and his Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire medal after receiving it from Prince William during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday.

Photo: Reuters

Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was awarded an honor by Prince William on Thursday — though the tennis star nearly missed his big day at Buckingham Palace because of a drugs test.

It was a big occasion for William, too, as he takes on more duties from his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, presiding over an investiture ceremony for the first time.

Murray, who in July became the first British man to win the Wimbledon men’s singles title in 77 years, was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE), two ranks below a knighthood, for his services to tennis.

However, he feared he might miss the royal appointment when drugs testers turned up at his house to conduct a random test 10 minutes before his car was booked to leave.

“I was just about to start getting ready and they turned up so I was a bit worried I was going to be late, but the taxi driver did a good job getting around London,” Murray said.

The 26-year-old Scot chatted animatedly with the prince after William pinned the OBE on his jacket lapel.

“He just asked me about what it’s been like after Wimbledon,” Murray said.

“I think he’s a big sports fan, he was at the Olympics, he was seen everywhere and I’ve seen him a couple of times at Wimbledon. I thought he seemed pretty relaxed. He seemed to give everyone a lot of time,” he added.

“He asked me about my back surgery and what it was like after Wimbledon, and the pressures and stuff. It was a great thing to do at the end of the year, especially as it’s his first one,” Murray said.

A jocular Murray said William’s wife, Catherine, had much the better handwriting out of the two.

“After Wimbledon his wife had written a letter to say congratulations and she had amazing handwriting, and I had a letter from Prince William before and his handwriting was not good,” Murray said.

William, 31, has recently ended his stint as a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot, but was dressed in his uniform for the ceremony, during which he gave out 88 awards.

The prince, second in line to the throne, wielded the ceremonial sword to create two new knights.

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