On the Eve of Wimbledon the BBC aired a documentary that would hopefully cease all remaining doubts of Andy Murray being a “stone-faced” and “emotionless” player and person.
Andy Murray: The Man Behind the Racquet presented by Sue Barker delved into aspects of Murrays tennis career from training to magazine shoots. Barker explored the Scots tennis routine and team that make him the man he is on the court and the family and “boring life” he leads when he does not have a racquet in his hands.
When the tears fell after Murrays defeat to Roger Federer at Wimbledon last year there was not a dry eye in the house. The Dunblane born lad showed the world that yes he does have an emotional side like everyone else. This drop of guard is perhaps what won over those pesky few doubters who judged Murray on his emotionless face rather than his ace winning game.
During the documentary we heard from family and friend such as Mother Judy, brother Jamie Murray and long time girl friend Kim Sears, tennis legends John McEnroe and Tim Henman. We also heard of some personal stores from actor and presenter James Cordon and legend Sir Alex Ferguson. We also saw a surprise interview with Kevin Spacey – was anyone expecting that one!?
From a young age Murray knew what he wanted in life and that was in win a Grand Slam title or two or five. So to do this he knew that sacrifices and risks would need to be taken in order to succeed with his dreams. At the age of 15 Murray convinced his family to let his move to a training facility in Spain to better his game and from there the rein of the Scot began.
The documentary was for sure a whirl wind of emotions on both ends of the scale. I once again bawled my eyes out when after fighting so hard and so long at Wimbledon last year he just could snatch that victory against Federer and his heart breaking speech after the match.
Then just 28 days later it was like déjà vu when both players once again stepped out onto the grass courts of SW19. However that day we saw a determined and more focused Murray than ever before and won the Gold medal singles title against Federer. Sir Alex Ferguson said “the turning point without doubt was winning the gold medal” – no argument there Fergie.
And with that victory came even more determination and fire when competing at the US Open weeks later. After a splash of water to the face and a pep talk to himself during a bathroom break he FINALLY won that long awaited Grand Slam title, lifting the US Open trophy in Flushing Meadows beating long time rival and friend Novak Djokovic.
We also saw the emotional and personal battles Murray had to fight through. One which would always haunt his family was the shooting at Dunblane Primary School where he and brother Jamie were both in attendence. 16 of their fellow school pupils were shot and killed and one teacher. Until recently both brothers were very tight lipped about the incident. Judy Murray even insists Jamie has yet to say anything about it since that tragic day. You could tell the whole situation still caused Andy Murray heart ache as when Sue Barker asked him about that day he broke down and cuddled his face into his dog to which Barker said we will say no more about it but Murray was adamant to day what he wanted to say.
It was definitely not easy for Murray growing up as a Scottish tennis player under the watch full eye of the media. Every movement he made was analysed and every breath of word was picked apart, sometime very unnecessarily. During an interview one American reporter kept referring to him as English, Murray would correct him and the reporter would brush it off with a “yeah whatever” or “same thing”. The Yank also questioned Murray about why there are no good English tennis players. Who was this man and what was with his attitude problem. The other journalist were clearly getting a good giggle out of it but there was no laughing coming from Murray.
The worst was yet to come when the English media and in particular “The Sun” newspaper had a field day tearing Murray apart after a football comment was taken into wrong perspective. Murray and Henman were having some onscreen banter during an interview. Being good friends and also from across the borders from each other the friends would poke fun at each other for being Scottish and English. However during an interview when Murray was asked who he would be supporting during the World Cup he answered with “whoever England is playing”, a light hearted answer if there ever was one yet the media saw this as an opportunity to destroy Murray and his fan base. Many English supports took this comment to heart and would soon find themselves cheering for whoever Murray as playing. Henman said in his interview he always felt protective over Murray as he knew what he was going to go through.
The Scot is without a doubt the sports version of our very own 007 man of mystery. He has fought through every obstacle with class and dignity with perhaps a slip up or two along the way but hey we all make mistakes. I for one had enjoyed seeing this new and improved player and cannot wait to see him progress even more over the next couple of years.