Andy Murray, US Open Champion. Not Andy Murray, miserable b*****d. Not Andy, British when he wins/Scottish when he loses, Murray. And most certainly not Andy Murray, the nearly man whose emotions keep getting the better of him. Just Andy Murray, US Open champion.
Whatever Andy Murray goes on to achieve in the future, he will never feel the same level of satisfaction, joy and relief as he will upon waking up the morning after this epic, epic win. British tennis fans are so used to their players careers ending with nothing but hard luck stories and a glorious loser tagline that it’s still difficult to believe a genuine world class winner walks amongst our ranks.
As with the Great British hopes of Wimbledon’s past, Murray always seemed to fall victim to a bad draw or a fit of temper but this time was different. Even when Djokovic turned the tide of the match with a couple of instinctive, lightning-like reaction shots at the net, and we all began to give up hope, Murray dug in so hard he almost hit a seam of coal to swing the match back his way. It was done in a manner backing up the theme of grit and determination that has ran through this summer of sporting success.
Whatever Andy Murray goes on to achieve in the future, he will never feel the same level of satisfaction, joy and relief as he will when upon waking up the morning after this epic, epic win.
To nail his triumph down to pure hard work would be doing a disservice to his talent and his newly found freedom to play more extravagant shots but his win epitomized the no short-cut ethos drilled into this summer’s winners. He’s achieved despite having to constantly fight against a sizeable wave of negative opinion about his dour demeanour and anti-Scottish taunts and this has been the problem in all sports of late. Image and perception of personality has begun to override the bare bones of what sport is about: results.
Murray dug in so hard he almost hit a seam of coal to swing the match back his way.
I’ll admit that looking at the two players last night, if you were to pick a winner by just eyeing them up and down, it’d have been Djokovic. You’d be pushed to find a finer athletic specimen, almost imperious in his appearance, looking every ounce a champion. Murray, on the other hand, with his “badly in need of a haircut” head of hair, was dressed like a kid who has forgot his trainers and had to wear his shoes during P.E.
It’s the mistake we all make in a culture that has for too long valued style over substance. We want Murray to possess the coolness of Borg, the fire of McEnroe or the Rolls Royce style of Federer when really we should be accepting him for what he is: a grafter with a hell of a lot of talent. He encapsulates Britishness in the way he plays and on that note, discussions about whether he’s Scottish or British are as vacuous as the people who argue the point. We support the man who’s playing not the flag he does it under. We should be celebrating the fact he's not a ravenous, attention seeking, publicity whore, and praise him for being a single minded, dedicated pro.
His coach Ivan Lendl, wasn’t a tennis court jester either and if Murray has to buy a trophy cabinet the same size as his, he could get all his teeth knocked out and never smile again for all I care. I don’t want him to smile, I want him to win. I don’t want him to take losing gracefully, I want it to eat him up inside until it drives him on to win tournament after tournament. And then if he wants to creosote his garden fence after he’s done winning Wimbledon, that’s alright by me too.
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