By Jack Ewing
In a matter of months, perhaps even a matter of days, one of Britain’s greatest ever sportsman will hang up his racket for the last time.
Andy Murray will be regarded as the most successful British tennis player of the modern era by quite some distance. His impact on British sport over the last 10-15 years has been monumental.
For a generation, a British grand slam winner was a laughably far fetched idea. Murray made that a reality. It took many years of building his game and his character before he struck gold. 2012’s Wimbledon Final was one of his lowest points, he was broken physically and mentally by the experience.
That defeat turned out to be the catalyst which drove him finally to the top of his sport. His defeats gave him an obligation to win. Without the lows of his career personally and professionally before 2012, he may not have had the drive and hunger to win and the mental strength to overcome any opponent he faced later in his career. 2012’s US Open was his first grand slam success. A roaring home crowd drove and inspired Murray to the highest points of his career, a gold medal in 2012 and the Wimbledon title the following year. Murray had ascended to the top of his sport, and he was determined to stay there.
Another Wimbledon title followed in 2016 and reaching the world number one spot took him to greater heights. However, the crowning achievement of his career may be leading his country in winning the Davis Cup in 2015.
Murray helped inspire and drive his teammates to achieve something truly special. British grand slam champions will come again for sure, but this team achievement will stand out for many years. It may never be repeated. The teams success was down to Murray inspiring his teammates to victory against the odds. He was the central figure of his team not just because he was the best player, but because he brought the best out of others around him. He was a true leader.
He was a deeply serious figure on the court, off the court he is a funny and very down to earth character. He never takes himself too seriously, his social media postings are testament to that. Despite his self confessed dry sense of humour, Andy Murray always remains an exemplary role model off the court. His championing of equality in Tennis may be one of his unrecognised but important achievements.
Andy and his families impact on Tennis will be felt for many years to come. Andy is the main figure in a family full of tennis talent.
His brother Jamie has been and still is a very successful doubles player. In his career so far he has won four mixed doubles grand slam titles and two doubles titles. His career looks set to continue as he now becomes the main Murray brother on the tennis scene. This will lead to extra exposure and extra pressure but Jamie seems very capable of dealing with that. Throughout their careers the brothers have been very supportive of each other. Once Andy retires that will be sure to continue.
Andy’s mother Judy also has a role in bringing through the next generation of tennis players. Judy among other things works with schoolchildren to help get them interested and involved in tennis. Judy came to my school in October 2015 to help get us involved. The sessions were fun and she was very down to earth. Obviously at the beginning everyone was nervous of what she would be like but she put everyone at ease very quickly. Her sessions were very informative while at the same time being fun and a great laugh. A lot of that was down to her personally. Both her sons drive to win on court but also being role models off it comes directly from her, and it shows.
He inspired a whole new generation to get involved in tennis, those who will follow in his footsteps will be his prodigies. Those Brits who next walk onto centre court at Wimbledon will be in his shadow. A glorious chapter in British tennis is now closing but an inspired new generation of British tennis players are ready to write the next. The Murray generation!