With Wimbledon 2013 now underway, the tennis so far has been welcomed by blue skies. What’s more, the hopes of British tennis fans are brighter than ever as Andy Murray embarks on a new Wimbledon campaign. This time as the US Open, Olympic and the British public’s champion.
Scruffy in appearance, awkward in front of the press and prone to bursts of temper on court; has not always enjoyed unanimous public support.
Though always enjoying strong support in Scotland, Murray found himself vilified as ‘anti-English’ by the English tabloids when his joke that he would support ‘anyone playing against England in the World Cup’, was taken out of context by journalists.
The last 12 months however, have seen a remarkable transition in both Murray’s status both on court and off court.
Murray began 2012 working with new coach Ivan Lendl. Muray’s transformation under Lendl saw him add to his game the extra aggression and mental resilience required. His game was significantly raised by a new confidence to hit shots closer to the lines and a greater control of his temperament.
Andy Murray’s Wimbledon Agony
Murray’s belief was rewarded with his first ever Wimbledon Final. But a fourth defeat in a fourth grand slam final was agonising for Murray. Having been ahead in the match made defeat all the more painful. As a tear-choked Murray gave an emotional post match interview, millions watching at home warmed to him as never before. His tribute to his supporters was all the more heartfelt as he fought back tears and his words flowed with emotion. Tennis fans saw through a new window his passion to be the best and shared his pain in defeat.
Murray Bounces Back at the Olympics
The agony of Wimbledon defeat was perhaps the catalyst for what was to come. Murray embraced the spirit of team GB at the London Olympics to win Gold on Wimbledon Centre Court. On the same grass where he had shared agony with fans just weeks before, he now shared elation. Although not a Grand slam, Britain now had a singles champion on Centre Court. He had proved that he could beat the best on the biggest stage. Just a few weeks later, Murray made an even greater break through, with dramatic victory in the US Open Final. He had given British tennis something they had waited 66 years for – a grand slam men’s singles champion.
With this year’s Wimbledon now under way Andy Murray is now a sports personality far better known to the nation. Murray was a passionate participant in the Rally Against Cancer charity event at this year’s Aegon Championship at Queen’s Club. The exhibition event was in support of the Royal Marsden Hospital who are treating Murray’s best friend Ross Hutchins for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and took place immediately after the Queen’s Club final. Murray donated the prize money for his Queen’s Club triumph to the cause and with the competitive business done, the crowd saw sense of fun as he enjoyed banter on court with celebrities and celebrated wildly as he managed to hit coach Ivan Lendl.
The Wimbledon crowd has not always been quite as partisan in support of Murray as it has for other players, but over the last year his more open style both on and off the court means he embarks on this year’s Wimbledon campaign, with the British crowd well and truly behind him.