Hi! I'm sorry in advance it this was already posted before but I don't remember seeing/reading it (I always lurk). Hope you don't mind me sharing it but I can relate to what the writer is talking about, most likely some of you will too.
Andy Murray: A Fan's Experience
Author: Jackie Elton, Andy Murray's No. 1 Fan
The third woman
Long time observers of Andy Murray will be well aware of the two important women in his life – his mother Judy and his girlfriend Kim Sears and they doggedly, faithfully and sometimes grimly endure watching him play around the world. But most of them won’t have noticed me, at almost every major match. Winning and losing.
Yes, I have watched him live in almost every major UK match he has ever played in the UK, at least on 20 occasions.
Wimbledon, Queens Club, ATP Masters at the 02, The Olympics, The Wembley Arena in 2007.
I have watched him play all round the world from Geneva to Marrakech to the East Coast America, from my TV, my laptop or in some cases a seedy bar, hotel or Sports Café in a foreign town often requiring some ingenuity and negotiation skills.
I have a long memory in tennis. Mark Cox, Roger Taylor, John Lloyd, Jeremy Bates, I read many articles profiling new hopeful British male stars – the great future of Jamie Delgado that never was, Buster Mottram, Stephen Warboys. Remember them? No, thought not. And then emerged Tiger Tim ‘n Greg. We hoped, we screamed our encouragement but somehow we knew that even Tim wasn’t the One. He knew it, we knew it. I remember after one particularly painful cliffhanger, retreating from Centre Court to the one of the bars and meeting fellow Brit supporters in a state of nervous exhaustion. Greg was a bit feistier and made the US Open Final but perhaps without the range and consistency of Tim. Perhaps a Combo of Tim and Greg could have done it. And perhaps they inspired Andy.
How it began
I once saw Andy on the outside courts at Wimbledon as a boy playing doubles with his brother Jamie. Then in 2007 we heard of the great junior success at the US Open. But my stats told me not to expect much. Boys champions rarely make the transition to the men’s game. A feeling grimly confirmed when Tim had to pull out of a commercial Super 8 tennis tournament at Wembley of champions and young Andy took his place. McEnroe crushed a bad tempered and snarling young boy with consummate ease.
And then after watching some great performances at Queens, Andy finally stepped on to the Centre Court stage and emerged into the third round where he played Nalbandian and won the first two sets. I was there of course, He threw it all away after winning the first two sets. But watching him, I KNEW that he had it in him.
I love Andy
People accuse Andy of being dour, boring, and charmless. Even of being just a bit yobby. And of course most unfairly anti English. What rubbish. I love about him is his passion to win, the fact he doesn’t care what I think or what you think, his utter lack of celebrity and that he loves scrabble and his border terrier dogs, Maggie May and Rusty. The video games, are admittedly a bit of an issue. He lacks the elegance of Federer, the flair of Nadal, and he doesn’t hit his chest like Djoko. But he is quintessentially Andy, what you see is what you get.
The nearly man?
So then years of ups and down. Up to number 2 in the world, finalist at the US Open, the Australian Open, some glorious wins and some desperate. I have missed work, missed meetings, lost focus and lost sleep.
I just admit, in private at least that there were moments of doubt. That desperate defeat by Federer in the US Open Final was a low point. I personally watched a particularly painful defeat was the loss in 2011 to Nadal at the Wimbledon semi Final where he snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. I vowed never go to the semi finals again.
A public debate was launched as to whether Andy needed a shrink to stop him getting so angry. Everybody told me that he was never going to make it, he was the nearly man – greatest player since Fred Perry but not a Grand Slam winner. I kept the faith publicly at least. He could still DO it, he just had to, didn’t he?
I watched him live in the 2012 Wimbledon Final where the first time, he actually took a set in a Grand Slam Final. It was a sad match but there was a real maturity and dignity starting to emerge, But was it the dignity of somebody who wasn’t destined to be a permanent runner up or of somebody who was on the cusp of greatness?
Then the Olympic Final. Against all odds, and in particular the determination of the Olympic Authorities to prevent people from getting any tickets at all, I got myself a ticket.. don’t ask how. Andy brushed aside Roger Federer in three fairly short sets. Wonderful but somehow anti climactical.. Was that IT?
And then finally, came the US Open final, September 2012 in howling winds. I wasn’t there in person but I watched every single moment on TV in London between 9pm and 2am. Other friends watched or listened (including my Djoko supporting Serbian cousin), but none lasted out to the end.
My cat, Cassie who has often been sometimes been traumatised by the fact I have suddenly started shouting at the telly for no apparently reason. She assessed the situation early on and retreated to the garden and would only be coaxed back when the match was well and truly over.
I experienced the exhilaration of the first two sets where Andy won in combative style. Then the Djokovic fight back where he proceeded to blast Andy off court for the third and fourth set. All seemed utterly lost. And then finally, Andy stepped it up. And he DID IT! The first Brit to win a Grand Slam since 1936. 76 years!
Andy and I, and probably a few hundred thousand fans (yes I had to admit others do exist) were drained and traumatised. In the post match interview, Andy looked tired, stunned and said he missed his dogs. I got texts and emails from all over the world congratulating me for my part in Andy’s victory. And the words from MY FAIR LADY flooded into my brain…
Tonight, old man, you did it!
You did it! You did it! You said that you would do it,
And indeed you did. I thought that you would rue it;
I doubted you'd do it. But now I must admit it
That succeed you did. You should get a medal
Or be even made a knight…