I have been a fan of Andy Murray since the start of 2009. There have been many lows as you would expect. Hello I’m a Murray fan, ( inevitable) but there also has been many highlights. So many. Too many. There is always that turn in your stomach when a grand slam comes around. It’s that feeling of excitement. That feeling of anxiety. Tennis fans, you should know this feeling all too well.
Andy has had one of the most extraordinary journies as a tennis player. Leon Smith, Murray’s tennis coach from 11 to 17 described Andy as “unbelievably competitive”, while Murray attributes his abilities to the motivation gained from losing to his older brother Jamie. At the age of 12, Murray won his age group at the Orange Bowl, a prestigious event for junior players. Judy Murray sacrificed a lot, running Andy and his brother, Jamie to many different tennis tournaments. She was the cheer leader, She was the inspiration. The Murray family played sport 24/7. They just had that enthusiasm, the talent, the dedication, the patience. They never gave up. They weren’t just like any normal family.
Murray soon decided to take tennis seriously. He went to Barcelona when he turned 15. He wanted to become a pro tennis player. Murray had to leave his family, friends, and relatives behind. He had to get used to the training in Barcelona, times were tough for Andy, as quoted in his Hitting back book. I’ve read this book 10 times already. No joke.
His career suddenly kept getting better. Win after win. There were some tough loses, but he took them on the chin, and continued to work very hard. He became gradually more successful. This boy would be a star. There were no other British players better than him. Things were looking up from the boy from Dunblane. There was some trophies to be won. There will be blood shed.
Soon he was in the top 20 and he was in the US Open final 2008. I didn’t watch this match, unfortunately. I heard that he played a fantastic match against Nadal. Very aggressive. Going for his shots. He had to come down from 2 sets down in the earlier rounds of the tournament. Just a great stepping stone, for later success to come. He became the first Briton since Greg Rusedski in 1997 to reach a major final. In the final he lost in straight sets to Roger Federer. A Federer who was in his prime. Federer was the master. Murray was the young Padawan.
Australian Open 2010 came along. That was entertaining. It was the first time that Murray had made it past the round of 16 in Melbourne. Remember the round the net post against Cilic. That was brilliant. The final arrived. I was nervous, as expected. Murray was nervous, obviously. There were no couches to hide behind. They had been previously been gnawed to death by someone. Murray was in his 2nd GS final. Murray more experienced, more determined. However Federer was even better. Murray had his chances. He was a break up in the 2nd. Federer was just too good. Federer defeated Murray 6-2 6-4 7-6. Heartbreak and tears. I had been here before. We had all been here before. All too familiar. Deja Vu.
“Sorry I couldn’t do it for you tonight,” Murray said at the official match presentation. “I can cry like Roger, it’s just a shame I can’t play like him.”
Federer said of Murray’s tears: “He does it way better than me. I didn’t want to do it last year and I did.”
Well Andy its just a shame that you aren’t as humble as Roger.
Whatever. I for seek some danger of your success in the near future. Just so you know. Be aware old Humble GOAT. You have been warned.
Lets fast forward on from that defeat shall we. mentally Murray was out cold. Where was Mr Murray Magic? We were seeing Mr Tragic. Things were a little bit ugly in 2010. 1 slam final. 1 slam semi final. 2010. everyone. 2010. Yet he still won titles. It wasn’t his best year. It was good though. It was good. He failed to play to his best of abilities particularly at the US Open. I was gutted at this loss at the USO, because I had seen him play one of his best tournaments just a few weeks ago, at Toronto; he beat Nadal and Federer in quick succession in this tournament. I remember it all too well. Tough loss to Wawrinka in the third round. Ouch. Meh. Bye Grand slams, until next year.
Murray was hovering in between 4 and 5 in the world. He went out early in a few tournaments leading up to the World tour finals. Winning Valencia ( doubles as well) though provided a big boost for Andy. He needed it badly. I seem to remember more about tennis finals, points and dramatic moments, than anything other thing in the world. Strange really. It’s quite something. It’s like it’s been locked in my brain. It’s there mocking me.
World Tour Finals came at last. Andy played sublime tennis. Played one of the best matches I had ever seen against Nadal in the semi’s. Just brilliant. it was breath taking tennis. Andy came up short against an inspired Nadal. I took confidence from this performance. I think we all did.
Again we see Andy playing superb tennis at the Australian Open. What is it with this place? Just something about it. Andy just loves playing here. Andy fought hard through out the tournament. Especially in the semi finals where he came up against a rampant, fierce Ferrer. Ferrer previously took out a out of sorts Nadal in the last round. Andy playing in his 3rd GS final, against the aggressive, the machine that is Novak Djokovic. Will I be popping the champagne this time, that’s the question. Well that question was answered quite rudely in the first few games of the match. It was clear that Murray was not mentally prepared for the challenge. He didn’t go for his shots. He under preformed. It was very heart destroying to watch. Nole was just too good. Just too good. He defeated Andy 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 win. The wait continues. No pressure Andy.
This loss much like the 2010 loss catapulted Andy into another mental submission. Losing again in the early rounds of the American HC Swing. There really wasn’t anything to shout about. The clay soon arrived. We all love the clay. Don’t we. To our surprise Andy faired incredible well with the clay, that match with Nadal at MC and Roland Garros. that match with Djokovic at Rome. Andy being successful on clay. WHAT, that is almost unheard of. He made the semi’s of the French Open. Played a blinder on the clay. CLAY GOAT. Then onto Wimbledon and US Open. Semi’s again. WOW. He reached the semi’s or better of every slam for the very first time. I couldn’t be prouder. What is this? The new and improved Andy. However my champagne was still in the fridge. It hadn’t been touched.
2012 started with a BANG. Quite literally. Ivan Lendl became Andy’s new coach. THE IVAN LENDL. Mr Lendl. Wow. That surprised me. I suddenly became excited, yet intrigued at the same time. I wondered what could Ivan do. Could he be the one to guide Andy to his first ever GS win? Could the relationship between him Andy work? It seemed to be working, as Andy won his first title of the year in 2012 winning. in Brisbane. This was expected, but he still had to go out there and win, which he did. He continued his great run of form at the Australian Open but finally Andy was defeated in a pulsating, heart wrenching semi-final at the Australian Open against the great Novak Djokovic. Nole was just too good. Unlucky Andy. Another glorious failure.
Would we see the same slump from Andy just like the 2 previous years. The answer to that would be: Not exactly. Andy made yet another final in Dubai. Fast court. Very fast. I was struggling to see the actual tennis ball to be honest. Federer defeated Murray, swiftly and efficiently in the final. I was left again disappointed.
The American Hard court season was very up and down. One final, One 2nd round exit. hmm. I guess you could say that Andy’s mentality was much more different this American HC season than the previous 2 years. This was a positive. Was it the Lendl effect or had Andy learned to control his emotions and put his disappointments behind him? The clay season did not give me any hope and optimism at all. Last years clay form seem to be no where this year. Where had it gone? Murray is not known to be the clay GOAT, but his performances on the clay were not inspiring neither impressive. He did not make a single semi- final on the clay. Murray fans were left to ponder. He did however make the quarter finals of the French Open with a lot drama it has to be said.
The grass court season was perfect, just unbelievable. There were the odd Murray coaster as you would expect but it was just fantastic overall. Wimbledon, Finalist: The tears. The heartbreak. The Olympics: Gold and Silver medallist. The jubilation. The celebration.
The relief. The happiness.
Could the winning streak continue. Were we in for more drama, more success? Well. Yes.
Are you not exhausted? Well I am. Andy was tired. There was an American hard sourt season to conquer and there was cake to be eaten. Andy pulled out of Toronto after he eat a totally healthy and edible cake after his 2nd round win. SURE. In all seriousness Andy needed a well earned rest. He went and played some scrabble, and played with some lego. This lego piece looks familiar.
Now for the US Open. I admit it Andy did not play his best tennis here, far from it in fact. He struggled against Lopez and Cilic, but put in some superb performances particularly against Raonic. The conditions were very difficult at the US Open. Hot. Cold. Windy. Wet. The match against Berdych in the semi finals was one of drama and emotion. I literally couldn’t breathe in that 4th set TB. I didn’t dare look at the TV screen. Andy eventually closed it out. WHAT ?!?! Andy into his 2nd GS final of the year of 2012. 5th overall. WOW.
The final arrived. I was so nervous. I was filled with excitement. Neil Harman must have about 20 hearts. I think he went a bit OTT during the final. “be still me heart” OK.
It was windy, very windy. The match was played to a poor standard at first, but things started to get interesting. Very interesting. Considering the conditions that Novak and Andy both had to play in they soon both were playing at a very high standard. The final went on for ages. I needed sleep. Lots of people needed sleep. The first 2 sets went to Andy,surprisingly. There was a lot of drama. A lot. Murray won the first set on a TB 12-10 and won the 2nd set 7-5. ( Murray was 4-0 up in the 2nd) There were incredible shots played by both players. It was a slugfest. Novak put up a huge fight. He won the next 2 sets. He was simply the better player than Andy. He produced some magical shots.
Into a 5th set it went. I predicted this. Soon Andy was serving for the match 3 CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS. SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!?
Andy Murray US Open Champion 2012. Speechless. YASSSSSSSSS. Just blooming fantastic. What a achievement. 6-2 in the final set. Relief. Excitement. Crying. Joy. Andy Murray. The wait is over. The champagne is out of the fridge at last. Grand Slam Champion. World Number 3 in the world. Murray you are a legend, and I for one am proud to be a fan of yours.
The wait is over.
The buzz after what was immense, so many people talking about it, everywhere I went. that same name kept popping up ANDY MURRAY, ANDY MURRAY. Yes you will get the people who will undermine everything that Andy does. Every time. Its frustrating, but it happens. Lots of people doubted him. They doubted his ability, his talent and his guts So many people. I doubted him.
You always get the same people saying “Oh Andy will never get 11 grand slams like Nadal” “Andy Murray will never get to number 1″ ” Andy Murray will never win Wimbledon” Andy might never be as successful as Nadal , Djokovic or Federer but he just won the US OPEN, so shush. He is a grand slam champion and you can’t take that away from him. He has worked so incredibly hard to get to this point. He deserves it.
The fact that 4 different players have won 4 different grand slams this year proves how competitive and how fierce this era is. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafa Nadal. Just superb players in their own different way. The big 4 are now the big 4, for real now. You cannot deny that.
Andy Murray. US Open Champion. Gold and Silver Olympic medallist. !!!! How good is that :)
Will this Grand Slam and Olympic triumph be the catalyst for even more success for Murray. We shall see.