Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has recalled watching Sir Andy Murray win Wimbledon from solitary confinement in an Iranian prison, during an emotional meeting with the tennis star.
The 44-year-old British-Iranian dual national said the Scot offered a “connection” to her life outside prison and an “escape” from her six-year detention.
Murray’s voice cracked with emotion and he had to pause as he responded to the experiences of Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe while she was detained in Iran.
He said her story of watching him win the 2016 tournament from her prison cell was “by far the strangest, most incredible story I’ve been told” about someone viewing him play tennis.
Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe recalled playing an Iranian version of Charades when held in a hospital ward, explaining on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “My friends knew that on my list there had to be Andy Murray.
“The people who were with me in that period they knew you even though they’d probably never heard your name before, they knew who you were, which game you won and that was quite something for me – it felt like a connection, it felt like escape, I was close to home all of a sudden and that was through sport, and through something that probably the Iranian government never thought that I would have that way of finding my way and connection to the life I had outside prison.”
Sir Andy later asked Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe for more information about her “incredible” story, and had to pause as he said: “I find myself getting quite emotional that someone could be treated in that way and just, sorry, yeah, I’d be interested to hear it from your side, how you feel about it all.
“You seem absolutely fine now but I’m thinking if I was in that situation or someone that I knew was in that situation I’d feel angry about that but you seem well.”