ANDY MURRAY : DESIRE AND PERSEVERANCE PAYS OFF

Written by Andy

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Andrew Barron Murray at 26 years old has in many peoples eyes just cemented his place as the greatest British tennis player of all time, for a few people he was just that before his amazing win at Wimbledon on Sunday.

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Everyone is focused on the 77 years wait statistic for a mens Wimbledon singles champion and quite rightly so but what must not be forgotten was the fact he beat Novak Djokovic who is easily one of the greatest ever 3 sets to 0.

Defeating a player of this calibre 3-0 is an unbelievable achievement not only because it was the number one player in the world right now but for a man that has had so much pressure on him for years after British failures since the Fred Perry era in the 1930’s.

I’ve seen some people slate Murray, call him a bottler, he will never win a big one and all sorts of other nonsense for the best past of 5/6 years now and you have to question what goes through peoples minds to slate such a gifted athlete?

Something these people forget to consider is tennis has never had so many players of this quality, when you consider guys like Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic who are so good and consistent in winning big trophies, then you have the next set of excellent players like Del Potro, Ferrer, Tsonga, Berdych and the list goes on.

Murray had the talent from an early age that was very evident from the get go, I still remember his Junior US Open win in 2004 that started the Murray avalanche that would eventually culminate to Sunday’s life changing win.

In 2005 he started his professional mountain climb on the ATP rankings in March ranked at 407 and became the youngest ever Briton to play in the Davis Cup in April. Murray would depend on a few wild cards to play in some big tournaments and would win his first ATP tour match at Queen’s, the warm up tournament for Wimbledon. He would go onto lose in Round 2 but his performance earned him a wildcard to his first Wimbledon.

Murray at this point, only 18 years old and ranked number 312 in the world would make the 3rd round losing out to the then much more established David Nalbandian.

He would close out 2005 in incredible style getting to the Thailand Open Final only losing out to the master Roger Federer but he finished the year ranked 64 in the world, not bad for someone who started 2005 ranked 407, this was the early desire and potential Murray was showing in his tennis.

2006 would see Murray make even bigger strides than he did the year before, He made the 4th round of Wimbledon and the US Open along with his first Masters semifinal at the Rogers Cup in Toronto losing to Richard Gasquet. Cincinnati was where he would get his biggest achievement that year when he stopped Roger Federer’s 55 match unbeaten streak on the hard court surface and along with Rafa Nadal was the only man to defeat Federer that year. Murray would win the SAP Open when he beat Lleyton Hewitt in the final and nearly added the Legg Mason Tennis Classic but lost to Arnaud Clement in the final. Murray would finish 2006 inside the top 20 in the rankings for the very first time an amazing achievement for the then 19 year old potential star.

In 2007 there was some mixed results after his second change of coach in successive years Murray would reach Round 4 of the Australian Open and Round 3 of the US Open a step back from last years 4th Round exit. He did however get to two semifinals in Masters tournaments in Miami and Indian Wells. Murray would pick up wins in San Jose & St Petersburg along with being runner up in Doha & Metz to end the year ranked 11 in the world.

2008 would again bring mixed success but at this point Murray is still only 20 years old and from where he was 3 years before its amazing to be on the fringe of the top ten. He had a disappointing campaign at the French & Australian Opens not making it past the 3rd round in either but he did make his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon and first ever US Open Final where he was beaten in straight sets by Roger Federer although he did finally get a first win over Rafa Nadal along the way so more progress was made. It was the first time since 1997 Britain had a competitor in a major final since Greg Rusedski. Murray would add a couple of Master Shields via Cincinnati then Madrid and was an honorable semi finalist in his first Masters Cup appearance but more impressively would end the year number 4 in the world, so in just 3 years the 18 year old Andy Murray went from 407 to 4 in the world of tennis picking up several wins along the way.

Murray started 2009 very well defending his crown in Doha at the Qatar Open then winning in Rotterdam with a straight sets win over old foe Rafa Nadal. Injury would keep Murray out of a few tournaments before being a semi finalist in the Monte Carlo Masters then suffering a surprise loss in round 2 of the Rome Masters. After Murray lost in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Masters he became the highest ranked British tennis player in the Open Era when he became world number 3 on 11th May 2009. He then went on to a very admirable quarter final run at the French Open his best in the tournament so far. Murray would break another British record becoming the first winner of Queens since 1938 defeating James Blake in the final and would back that up with a semifinal run at Wimbledon only losing out to Andy Roddick. Murray would bounce back from that disappointment winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal and becoming the world number 2 in the process. He very nearly added the Cincinnati Masters to his winning form but lost out to Roger Federer. His season end would be disrupted by some injuries but Murray had another excellent year of progress and you could see the bigger picture forming for Murray.

2010 started very well for Murray, he made his first ever Australian Open Final but yet again lost out to that man Federer. Murray would make another Wimbledon semifinal but Rafa Nadal would be the man in his way this time. Another change of coach was made and Murray would make the final of the Farmers Classic  but lost to Sam Quarry for the first time in his career. Murray did however become the first player since Andre Agassi in 1995 to defend his Canadian Masters title and he also added the Shanghai Rolex Masters beating Roger Federer in straight sets. More mixed results, injury & conditioning concerns happened and Murray ended the year in 5th in the world and Murray ended his season losing in the semifinals of the Tour Finals in London to Rafa Nadal.

In 2011 Murray for the second year in a row made the Australian Open Final but for the second year in a row he lost, this time to Novak Djokovic which was the start of his fine form. Murray then made some semifinals in Monte-Carlo, Rome Masters and French Open but he did manage to pick up his second Queens title beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final. Murray would also make another semifinal at Wimbledon again losing out to Rafa Nadal. Murray got back to winning ways at the Western & Southern Open in USA before yet another semifinal loss to Rafa Nadal this time at the US Open. Murray would then win in Thailand and Japan along with another win in Shanghai where he defended his crown ending the year 4th in the world.

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The year 2012 is where Murray turned into a genuine bona fide contender. Ivan Lendl was hired as coach and this would later prove to be a masterstroke from Team Murray. He won his 22nd Tour title with the Brisbane International before getting to another semifinal in the Australian Open losing an enthralling 4 hours and 50 minute match with Novak Djokovic. He lost in the Dubai final to old rival Roger Federer and would then make the quarters of the French Open despite suffering from back spasms. Murray would then make his first ever Wimbledon Final and despite losing to Federer in yet another final this proved to be the making of Murray and the turning point in his career. Just a few weeks later Murray would represent Great Britain in the London 2012 Olympic games and meet his old friend Federer in the Olympic Gold Medal Final. Murray would dismantle Federer in straight sets and become the first Briton to win an Olympic Gold Medal since 1908 and would add another Gold Medal this time in the mixed doubles with Laura Robson and becoming only the 7th man to win two medals at the same Olympic Games. Murray headed into the US Open on a very obvious high and made the final, in an epic tennis encounter he would defeat Novak Djokovic and finally win his first Grand Slam Title meaning Murray had become the first man to be Olympic & US Open Champion in the same year. Murray would go onto make the semifinals in Japan and then the final Shanghai (his 3rd in a row) but would this time lose out to Djokovic after throwing away match points to win. Murray would end the year ranked 3 in the world and also come 3rd in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award for 2012 but he did win the Laureus Sport World Breakthrough of the Year prize along with an OBE for his services to tennis.

How could you top 2012?

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Well 2013 saw Murray retain his Brisbane International Title before making the Australian Open Final for the 3rd time in four years and along the way defeating Roger Federer in a Grand Slam for the first time, this was also Murray’s 3rd consecutive Major final appearance but he couldn’t keep up his winning run and was beaten by Djokovic in four sets. This latest defeat in Australia meant only Stefan Edberg had lost 3 Australian Open finals in the Open Era. A quarterfinal loss at Indian Wells was followed up with a second win at the Miami Masters beating David Ferrer in the final and also becoming world number 2 behind Djokovic. A hip injury at the Rome Masters meant Murray would also miss the French Open but Murray would return fresh at Queens and went on to win his 3rd title defeating Marin Cilic in the final. So onto Wimbledon 2013 and with Djokovic defending his title, Nadal back from injury and Federer returning to a place he has won so often Andy Murray wasn’t getting talked up this year. Of course the home support will always back him and a few people fancied him at 10/1 at the start of the tournament which was a slight surprise considering he hadn’t lost on grass since Wimbledon 2012. With Federer and Nadal gone early in surprising fashion the likely final of Murray v Djokovic to compete for another major was confirmed. Still the underdog Murray wiped the floor with the Serbian winning in straight sets and becoming the first British man since Fred Perry to win the Men’s Singles crown.

So there you have it, in 8 years Andy Murray has gone from 407 in the world to number 2 in the world picking up 28 career singles titles and 2 doubles titles in the process which also include an Olympic Gold Medal, US Open and now Wimbledon title. The only Slams Murray hasn’t won are the French where his best finish is a semifinal and Australian where he is a 3 time runner up.

As I said at the top of this piece for me Andy Murray is our greatest ever tennis player, all he hasn’t achieved in the game is the French & Australian title along with being World Number One. But when you consider the amount of Slam Finals he is making now on a consistent basis (that’s 3 in a row now as he didn’t compete in France) you have to say its only a matter of when and not if he achieves those remaining goals.

With over $30 million won in his career I’m very sure Murray won’t stop there as at 26 he still has plenty years left in him to win all the Slams multiple times over.

One thing’s for sure Murray’s desire and perseverance has never been and will never be questioned

He has done Britain proud over the years and this man should be appreciated as one of our finest ever athletes and sportsmen

Take a bow Andy Murray you’re the man

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