Andy Murray – A Shot at Complete Redemption
So here we are again. Andy Murray has made it to the Wimbledon final for a consecutive year. And boy, has he put the entire nation through the mill en route. But let’s rewind 12 months. And let’s be honest, Murray didn’t always have the nation’s affection and support.
Murray has completely transformed his image in tennis and in the eyes of the British public.
Within a year, the world number two has gone from being recognised as a really good player with respect from his peers, to a world class athlete to be feared.
When he walks out onto Centre Court on Sunday for his final against Novak Djokovic, he will be not only supported but liked by the majority of the country – something that could not be said so easily leading up to last year’s final against Roger Federer.
Let’s not patronise Andy Murray by telling him “he’s a winner regardless of the result”.
He’s shown heart, fight and passion
No-one will hate that more than him. This is sport and if you lose, it is for a reason.
Murray is going into the final with the vast majority of the country not just urging him on because he is a Brit, but because in the last two rounds of Wimbledon he has shown heart, fight, passion, talent and loyalty to himself, earning the right to contest the final of the most illustrious competition in the sport.
Fernando Verdasco in the quarter final and Jerzy Janowicz in the semi both had Murray on the ropes, but he did what 90 per cent of our British athletes don’t do – he fought back and went to that next level.
Not all sportsmen have the Hollywood looks of David Beckham or can offer the media great one-liners like Jose Mourinho.
But believe it or not, some athletes like playing sports, because they just like playing sports and they are not interested in the circus that surrounds it.
Hunger to be the best
The Scot combines his exceptional talent with a huge hunger to be the best. It is enough for him and should be enough for us.
Straight after Murray had won his tiring semi final with the lanky Pole, I left the pub in Clapham where I caught the last set and with my good friend made our way to the nearby taxi office.
While we were waiting for our cab, our couple who had arrived prior to us were discussing the tennis they too had watched. The girl was explaining the rules to her, I assumed, boyfriend, and how Murray had won.
The gentleman was for some reason not having the British one and went on and on about how he regretted the fact Murray had won and hoped he would be, in his words “humiliated” in the final by that “weird looking guy with the scary eyes”.
The girl took exception to this and told him he was unnecessarily being hateful and should support the British star. I eventually got into my cab and couldn’t help but wonder this; was this attitude towards Murray indicative of our (the nation’s) attitude towards our successful British athletes?
Or was the lady’s response a reflection of the work Murray has done to improve himself not only on the court but off it?
Will Andy Murray finally become the first British male to win Wimbledon in 77 years? Probably not. But do we now all want Murray to win? Hell yeah!