Murray's US Open Victory
If there ever was any doubt over Andy Murray’s membership of tennis’s elite Top Quartet, his recent victory at the US Open has laid any such doubts firmly to rest. Some might have suggested in the past that the men’s game was dominated by a Trio with Andy Murray knocking at the door but still firmly outside it. Four losses in four previous Grand Slam finals had given the hex somewhat to an aspirant Murray and it seemed the pressure was beginning to tell on his efforts to prove his status. After Flushing Meadow, no one can now say that the proud Scot, Olympic and US Open champion, does not deserve his position at the top echelons of men’s tennis.
Coming at the end of a magnificent summer for British sport, Murray’s victory at Flushing Meadow was particularly sweet. The absence of Nadal and the early exit of Federer at Flushing Meadow clearly worked in Murray’s favour, but a tactical sharpness and a renewed confidence and self-belief inspired by having Ivan Lendl in his corner, were the key drivers behind his historic victory. On his path to victory, he resembled in many ways that other ‘outsider’ of yesteryear, John McEnroe. Sometimes surly with a sense of an inner anger and ‘something to prove’, Murray caught the mood of the moment and the New York crowd took him to its bosom. Not ‘classically’ British in the way Tim Hemnan was ‘classic’, he provided an element of the edgy anti-hero that strikes a chord in the US – McEnroe thirty years on.
Such was his popularity in the Big Apple (and New Yorkers’ love of a winner) that a Manhattan Chinese restaurant which hosted Murray’s victory party stayed open late to accommodate the late-night revellers and made no charge for the meal and drinks to boot. Nothing succeeds quite like success. A celebration organised by Britain’s New York consulate which included a personal message from Prime Minister Cameron gave the official stamp of approval to Murray’s efforts. Photo shots of Murray relaxing in Central Park with his trophy in the foreground and the Manhattan skyline in the background all added to the glamour of Britain’s latest super-hero. Something suggests that this low-key Scot is unlikely to have his head swayed by the blandishments of success – like Gordon Brown , there is something of the ‘kirk’ about this understated, deliberately un-flashy Scot which is likely to rein in any temptation to wild excess.
The positive glow for Murray will last for a while, but the pressure will be on to replicate another Grand Slam win. That pressure will be particularly intense on home turf at Wimbledon next year. The next real test of Murray’s acumen will be the ATP Masters in November at Greenwich where his major adversaries are all expected to be out in force. Britain has always expected much from its sporting heroes, so pressure for Murray to perform will intensify.
This summer, Murray’s name has been added to those of other British sporting greats, Farah, Wiggins, Ennis, Hoy and the many participants at the Paralympics, all of whose achievements were outstanding. For Murray, a number of ghosts have been laid to rest. He is now part of that exclusive club of Grand Slam winners. His next challenge is to prove it was not just a ‘one off.’ Looking on, no doubt, from his celestial perch, Fred Perry would be proud of the young Scot and generous in his welcome to Murray to membership of that exclusive club.
Date published :
13 Sep 2012 - 09:13:52