Tennis

Tennis Player Profiles Andy Murray



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Andy Murray is, at the time of writing, ranked as the number one tennis player in the UK and number three in the world.

Andy was born into a family of sporting pedigree, his mother Judie Murray was a professional tennis player following in the footsteps of her mother who also played tennis.

His dad has always been a keen sports-fan and his grandfather played full-back for Hibernian F.C.

Andy is the younger brother of Jamie who he competed with in any way possible. Andy’s competitive streak as a child and the tantrums he threw when he didn’t win earned him the nickname of Bamm Bamm after “The Flintstones’ character who was known for being destructive and breaking things. In an interview for a BBC documentary the boys’ father recounted how he had incurred the wrath of the child for playing the wrong numbers on the lottery after the draw had revealed it was not a winning ticket as Andy was expecting.

Both Murray boys began to play tennis competitively and aged 12 Andy won the much coveted Orange Bowl in Florida. It was around this time that Andy made friend’s with a boy named Rafael Nadal. Rafael told Andy how he trained in Spain with high caliber coaches and talked of the excellent training facilities. Andy moved away from his family to Spain, still a child, so he could become better at the sport.

March 13, 1996 was a significant date not just in Andy’s life but for the whole town of Dunblane in Scotland where he grew up. A man called Thomas Hamilton walked into Dunblane Primary School and whilst Andy’s class took cover in a classroom, shot 16 children and a teacher dead before killing himself. Andy was young and didn’t understand why. To this day it’s something he doesn’t talk openly about in interviews but in his autobiography he revealed that he knew the perpetrator and had attended youth clubs run by the man.

The incident may have been the motivation behind Andy dedicating his first serious tournament win to the people of Dunblane (The Junior US Open aged seventeen)

Andy continued to impress on the court and was becoming a well known name in Tennis, particularly in Britain when he made an ill-judged comment during an interview with himself and the UK number one at the time Tim Henman. Partly in jest and partly as an in-joke with Henman, when asked who he’d be supporting in the 2012 FIFA World Cup Murray replied “I’ll support whoever is playing England”. The newspapers, whose readership was mainly English people printed the quote and portrayed Murray as anti-English which resulted in the fledgling tennis star being bombarded with hate mail and threats.

Since the quote gained him notoriety Murray has been a lot more guarded with his responses in the media and for the most part kept his emotions in check preferring instead to do his talking on the court causing some to believe that he is dull or void of emotion. In July 2012 the general public’s perception of the Scot seemed to change…

Having previously reached reached three Grand Slam finals but having failed to secure victory in any Murray looked determined going into the Wimbledon 2012 final against World number one at the time Roger Federer. Murray won the first set but eventually Federer’s quality shone through and earned him his seventh Championship leaving Murray distraught. Still on court Murray gave his runners up speech failing to fight back the emotion and the tears that accompanied them. The crowd acknowledged Murray’s effort and heartache with rapturous applause… it may just have been a turning point in his career.

Just four weeks later and Murray was back on centre court at Wimbledon having reached the Olympic games men’s singles final having lost only lost one set in the tournament up to that point. Spirits were high with Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford winning gold medals for Team GB the day before and as Murray walked out the audience chanted his name. His opponent in the final? Mr Roger Federer. Same venue, same opponent, very different result. This time Murray, perhaps more determined than ever, beat the Swiss star in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. He also went on to win a silver medal in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson.

In September of 2012 Murray got what he’d been desperate for. A Grand Slam title. Murray was playing Novak Djokovic in the US open final and was up 2-0 in sets and just needed one more to secure victory. Djokovic fought back to bring the score to 2-2. Murray took a rare bathroom break where he psyched himself up mentally for the final set. Determined not to become the first tennis player ever to lose 5 Grand Slam finals in a row Murray came back out and won the final set much to the relief of himself and everyone he had been working with

2013 started well for Murray finishing runner up at the Australian open and securing another two tour wins before missing the French open with a back injury. Wimbledon rolled around and Murray breezed through to the final where he again faced Djokovic. This time, supported vocally by the crowd and watched by 17 million people on TV, Murray completed the job efficiently winning on straight sets and becoming the first Male Wimbledon singles champion for 77 years since Fred Perry won it in 1936.

As previously mentioned Murray is currently ranked #3 in the world. However, It would be no surprise to those who have followed his career to see him reach the number one spot in the near future.

 

More about this author: Alan Allward