Passion, perseverance and suffering, these three words alone could sum up the last seasons on Andy Murray’s circuit. At 34, he does not have much more to prove: his record is enough to make people envious with among others his three Grand Slam titles (US Open 2012, Wimbledon 2013 and 2016), his two gold medals. consecutive Olympic singles (London 2012 and Rio 2016), the Davis Cup and his place as world number 1 for 41 weeks in the era of the Big 3. The guy has made a place for himself in the history of tennis, and more particularly in the United Kingdom, by dint of sacrifices whose body ended up paying the price.
Tortured by his right hip, he could not hide his tears in January 2019, fearing that he would have to end his career before betting everything on a heavy last-ditch operation. Murray won his bet since he returned to the racquet on the circuit a few months later, even winning a title in Antwerp, the only one since his operation. But can a champion of his nature be satisfied with an anonymous return? Knowing his character, certainly not: a fierce competitor, he has been hanging on for almost three years to compete again with the best.
A tie-break conceded then Berrettini unfolded: the Italian stops the road to Basilashvili
4 HOURS AGO
Defense and grinta: It was very good Murray to dominate Hurkacz
Motivation welcomed despite an uncertain outcome
A laudable dream or a dangerous illusion? Some see it as relentlessness and fear a possible sad outcome that would overshadow his career. But this is not the feeling that prevails across the Channel. “His willingness and motivation to continue playing at the age of 34 with a metal hip, after the operations he underwent, arouses admiration and respect. Tennis fans, for the most part, think it’s amazing that he continues to fret in training and face younger players in such a physically demanding sport.“, explains our British colleague from Eurosport UK Dan Quarrell.
A perseverance all the more respectable since, since his last major surgery, Murray has had a series of small problems: from problems in the pelvis and in the lower back in 2020 to a contraction of Covid-19 which prevented him from playing the game. ‘Australian Open 2021, he was not spared. “The problem, once you have a metal hip, it changes the biomechanics, and the distribution of loads to different parts of your body affects your muscles, tendons, joints, your back… everything. This is what gave me so much difficulty“, also detailed the main person interested in GQ last May.
“When you start from scratch, it’s so hard … Murray, he keeps bluffing us”
But since August, he finally manages to continue week after week. From Cincinnati to Vienna via the Rennes Challenger, Murray played the trifle of 19 matches (10 wins, 9 losses) against 13 from January to July. And despite his ranking – he still has not found the Top 100 – his level of play is only improving. His great battle lost against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 1st round of the US Open had already sent a strong signal, amplified this week in Austria by his second success in more than four years in a Top 10, in this case Hubert Hurkacz, yet in in shape and racing for the Turin Masters.
These performances are obviously delighting in the United Kingdom, especially since they take on the appearance of a nice surprise. “He is clearly no longer expected to fight for the Grand Slam titles, but every time he plays the interest is real and the media coverage significant. Anything he can accomplish is seen as a bonus and he has no pressure at all, which he seems to quite enjoy. He can play freely, which changes a lot of what he knew before at every Grand Slam tournament. We hope to see him offer himself some more special victories on the biggest stages.“, notes our colleague Dan Quarrell.
From the “I love you, me neither” of the beginnings unanimously around the heir of Perry
If he suffers with him – as when Murray expressed his doubts about the outcome after his dry outing in the 3rd round at Wimbledon in July – the British people therefore do not let go of what we can also call “Sir Andy “since his ennobling in 2017. The unanimity around him is all the more remarkable as this was not always the case, far from it, in a land where the media can be particularly fierce, especially the tabloids . When he had the misfortune to say, as a good Scotsman, that he would support all the teams except England at the 2006 World Cup, he had been severely punted.
Endless battle: relive Murray’s breathtaking victory over Tiafoe
Criticized in his early years of career for his monotonous tone with journalists, his scowl or his negative attitude towards his clan during his matches, Murray has not always been an ideal son-in-law across the Channel. So much so that according to his results, the general impression was that his identity could switch from “British” when he won, to “Scottish” when he lost. Undeniably talented and hardworking, he was expected around the corner, which frankly didn’t help him cheer up.
Paradoxically, it was a magnificent defeat against Roger Federer in the Wimbledon 2012 final that had helped him split the armor, before the consecration the following year. “Murray will always have a special place in the hearts of people in the UK because he put an end to the long run (77 years since the last triumph of Fred Perry in 1936, Editor’s note) without titles at Wimbledon for British men’s tennis. And he did it under enormous pressure, that of carrying the hopes of a nation, both in the Grand Slam and in the Olympics. He’s a legend in British sport, not just tennis“, confirms Dan Quarrell.
Exemplary in glory as in ordeal: Murray paved the way for Raducanu
This unwavering bond was further strengthened, if possible, by the recent documentary Andy Murray: Resurfacing who retraced the ordeals the champion went through because of his hip. The former world number 1 is, in a way, doubly become a popular hero: thanks to his sporting exploits of course, but also and above all thanks to his strength of character. That of never giving up as long as it is still possible to believe in it, of overcoming unspeakable traumas such as the Dunblane massacre which he witnessed when he was a schoolboy and whom he had agreed to mention as rarely in the documentary.
Di Pasquale: “To see him clench his fist from the second game, we are in the process of finding Murray”
At a time when the attention of the British media has logically shifted somewhat to the new phenomenon Emma Raducanu, Andy Murray has therefore lost none of his aura in the United Kingdom. He remains the one who paved the way, the one who sets the example. So much so that he did not hesitate to share training sessions and give some advice to his young compatriot, recent US Open champion. Passing on his experience could also be an interesting reconversion for those who have not ruled out becoming a coach in the future.
But there is no rush. Especially given the ambition, physique and tennis found by “Sir Andy” in recent weeks. Will he manage to surprise again, even in the best of five Grand Slam sets? Why not. One thing is certain: whatever he does, he will always make the event at home.
“Seeing him extend his career by focusing on doubles is also a possibility. If he partners with his brother Jamie, they would be a very popular pair and the discipline would suddenly be well (more) followed“, observes Dan Quarrell. It is undoubtedly the power of attraction of the big ones. As such and by what he continues to show on the court, Murray completely deserves his place in the” Big 4 “for the British, and many others in the tennis world.
Iron defense and sharp returns: puncher Alcaraz won his showdown against Murray
6 HOURS AGO
Too fair, Murray eliminated by Alcaraz after a great fight
8 HOURS AGO