In nobody's eyes, but mine.
Andy Murray goes under a gigantic microscope in this country for a month, doesn't he? It's rather surprising how many people are fairweather tennis fans on these shores. As an avid user of social networking sites, it always makes me chuckle to see acquaintances pass comment on Murray and his efforts at Wimbledon. It's either positive and encouraging, or the usual nonsense ; 'dour, anti-English, Scottish twat'. Fifty weeks then pass before these comments are made again, ad nauseum. These comments are all very predictable, not to mention sad. Here is a man, on the cusp of becoming a legend of the game, who is largely unappreciated by his public.
Now, I am 21 years of age and I have followed Murray on an almost religious basis since 2005. I have amassed over 30,000 posts on this website and accrued well over 250 days of online activity. I have close to an encyclopaedic knowledge of his career. Despite these rather humiliating revelations, I think it qualifies me pretty sufficiently to give an informed opinion on Andy Murray.
Yes, he is dour. I would be the first to admit that. He is an introverted human being, who loves playing tennis, but dislikes the media frills that surround professional sport in this day and age. In interviews, his voice can be rather monotonous, and he can seem very unenthused to be sat in front of the media, after his exertions on a tennis court. Can you honestly blame him? Okay well, the voice could perhaps be altered slightly, but we would all love to sound like Richard Burton. However, contractual obligations to sit in a room with several journalists, a profession known for its backstabbing and devious characters, and answering the same questions, over and over again. I cannot say that I blame Murray for being guarded and bored by interviews. I would be the exact same.
Not to mention that in the summer of 2006, a tongue-in-cheek remark was taken out of context, twisted beyond recognition and splashed across the headlines of tabloid newspapers, in order to paint Murray as some sort of xenophobe. Some citizens of this country, who take the opinion of tabloid newspapers and who are unable to form their own, have since found it difficult to like Murray. As a naive teenager, Murray tried to be funny with the media and got his fingers burnt. I can see exactly why Murray doesn't give them anything exciting to talk about. Again, I would be the exact same
The most satisfying thing about it all is that he does not care. He is extremely single-minded, driven and highly ambitious, and does not care for what people think of him. Sure, he does appreciate the support that he receives at tournaments as he well should. But Murray knows he is a love-hate figure, and he does not mind, one iota. Here is a man whose family sacrificed so much in sending him to Barcelona to pursue his dream of becoming a professional tennis player. A man who possesses an incredible work ethic, and desire to improve and maximise every facet of his game, in order to land a grand slam.
He is the perfect role model for any young sportsperson. You don't see him rolling out of a London nightclub every other weekend, intoxicated with a vapid female companion in tow. Firstly, the exhaustive, all year round nature of tennis itself wouldn't allow for it, and secondly, it is just not Murray's style.
Many people in this country applaud and admire Roger Federer for his charisma and charm. Personally, I think he is smarmy, arrogant and far from genuine. An incredible tennis player and great champion, who could well win his seventeenth grand slam on Sunday, no doubt. However, Murray is, in my opinion, the most gracious and humble player on the Tour. I have never once heard him criticise an opponent pre or post-match. His acceptance speeches are awkward but heartwarming and endearing. Breaking down in tears, after losing a final in Melbourne, and after helping Team GB to victory in Glasgow were raw, honest displays of emotion from a man who does not pretend to be something he is not.
In defence of Andy Murray ; you are mostly misunderstood but I sincerely hope you win on Sunday. For yourself, your family and friends, your support team, and no one else. You are a star.