Andy Murray – our perennial Wimbledon Box Office

“2nd Championship point… Go on Andy! Shhhh! Go on Andy! Shhhh! Come on Andy! Shhhh!… OUT! HISTORY IS MADE AT THE US OPEN!!! Andy Murray the first British male winner of a Grand Slam for 76 years! What a historic evening under the lights! How he has worked, how he has sacrificed for this moment. How emotional it must feel for them. A thought for Novak Djokovic – it takes two to have an occasion like this, and he so played his part. So close, but Murray at the end, just superior…”

As Novak Djokovic’s crashing forehand sailed out of play and Andy Murray sank to his knees on the US court in the knowledge he had finally done it, 76 years of near-misses was finally laid to rest. Andy Murray became US Open Champion – finally putting the long-awaited Grand Slam title on the table, and adding to his gold medal won during the summer, after defeating Roger Federer in straight sets at the 2012 Olympic Games. His Wimbledon speech after losing to Federer at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships finally cast off – in my opinion – the image of the miserable, surly Scot, who seems to have been followed around by that 2006 England comment wherever where he goes, and revealed himself as a passionate, committed sportsman, (and human being) who clearly hates losing. Murray had to compose himself in front of Sue Barker, and – roared on by support from the crowd – and in front of the legendary Federer, came out with: “I’m going to try this, and it’s not going to be easy.” He broke down in tears in front of watching girlfriend, Kim Sears.

Plenty of people don’t like Murray – and I understand that. I love the man. What an advertisement for British tennis. A winner – no more of this gallant, British-losing (with the exception of Chelsea!), so-close-but-not-quite-close-enough, well-played son nonsense. The man wants to win and put his proud country on the map. And he has done it in remarkable style. Number 2 in the world, and the British No. 1. And this year, he will once again aim to wrestle the Wimbledon crown from his opponents, whilst at the same time providing us with (hopefully) two weeks of Box Office entertainment in the sun. Fantastic!

I love the humility and sportsmanship of tennis players – when put under the spotlight after losing a final, they are quick to praise the winning opponent, which must be an awful feeling inside after going nearly the same distance. During Murray’s 2012 Wimbledon speech, he was funny, graceful and full of praise for Federer: “I’m going to try not look at him or I’ll start crying again…” I would much rather see this kind of humility on my TV, over another footballer being sent off. After losing such a major final, Murray – like another famous Scot, Sir Alex Ferguson – clearly vowed to come back stronger. He delivered in sensational style. Watching the 2012 footage back again now, I felt so sorry for Murray on such a big stage. I’m so pleased at what’s he’s accomplished since.

As an avid tennis fan, I cannot wait for Wimbledon. We’re blessed with two weeks of sunshine (pleeeeeeeeease!), the best tennis players from around the globe and superb insight from Boris Becker, John McEnroe, John Inverdale, Tim Henman, Andrew Castle, John Lloyd and – of course – the brilliant Sue Barker. Murray left the arena 12 months ago a dejected man, and managed to pick up some silverware while he was away. It was disappointing to learn of his recent retirement from his second-round clash at the Italian Open with a lower back injury. A miserable 26th birthday, indeed. At the time of writing, he was unfortunately a major doubt for the French Open (holy moly – it’s tough keeping up to date with the rapidly changing world of tennis!) and fingers crossed he will still be able to take part at Wimbledon. The tournament is going to be a sadder place if he is not there. If he does pull through, I’m sure he can overcome these injury niggles and return with a vengeance.

Come on, Andy.

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