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Country - Great Britain Date of birth - age 23 Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in) Turned pro 2005 Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Career prize money US$13,967,298 Career record - 255 wins 89 defeats (74.13%) Career titles - 16
Highest ranking No. 2 (17 August 2009) Current ranking No. 5 (10 January 2011)
So, three grand slam finals in three years for Andy Murray but three defeats, nine out of nine sets lost and so hardly top four in the world credentials. The gloomy Scott just can't find that extra to win the 'slam' final and some are beginning to question if he has the real metal to close it out, tennis the most mental of sports. But I'm not questioning him. He is just 23 years old and only five years into his pro career. And fear not, tennis greats Ivan Lendel and Andre Aggasi lost 3 and 4 of their first finals respectively before they won a slam, and went on to win many more, and those guys going up against the true greats of McEnroe and Sampras respectively. There is plenty of time for Murray to win a slam and I'm very confident he will. In fact it may be this year. Nadal's 'growing pains' injuries and Federers young family can only weaken the top two.
What Andy isn't is Tim Henman, another guy I admire, a sportsman who clearly performed way above his ability, so again reason enough for Brit's to attack him too. Tennis is a middle-class sport and so why should a limited gene pool inside the M25 produce a Wimbledon champion? I don't understand why this country has a divine right to produce tennis winners. Henman senior built Tim a tennis court in the back garden he was that posh. Few British Premier League football players can string a sentence together, let alone a tennis racket, so play football, whereas most posh kids go to university and so play social sport as a break from studies, hardly the motivation to drive you on to world-wide success. Middle England are a not an apathetic bunch so don't need the route of professional sport to success. As long as tennis remains a middle-class sport then what's the problem if we don't win anything? The working-class clearly don't want to play it.
Last months Australian Open Final was the first not to feature either Nadal or Federer, Rogers defeat to the eventual winner Jokovic meaning for the first time since 2002 the poncy Swiss legend doesn't hold a grand slam title. As I said before having a wife and kid always knocks the edge of your game and a subliminal hint you are too relaxed and no longer up for the wars to come, meaning the Federer Express is nearing his end game. Nadal is just not physically able to dominate the game like the likes of Federer and Sampras did and so the world number one spot may soon be vacant. Up until this final Murray and Jokivic seemed to be jostling for 4th in the world, but after Melbourne last month the Serb is clearly on the rostrum looking down on the sulky jock, Jokivic, perhaps, wanting it that tiny bit more in penance to escape where he came from.
When Murray's right he glides through tournaments like the best of them, this, his second straight Australian Final, Nadal defaulting on him last year in the quarter-finals. You would have thought Murray would be even keener to perform in the final when the big two are out but he just seemed to concede to Jokivic without a fight. Jokivic had won a slam before going into the final and that seemed to make the difference. But Murray has the game that seems to work on most surfaces (the French Open perhaps his weakness with just one Q\F so far) so I just feel he will have more chances to Slam than Jokivic.
The problem with tennis and for players like Murray is you can have a great life without winning anything major, the young female Polish world number one tennis player there without ever winning a grand slam. It's the same in golf and so your motivation becomes less about winning the biggest tournaments and more about maintaining your world ranking so to cut back on the amount of travelling and matches you have to play in what is a very long season. Maybe Murray is beginning to doubt himself and so blaming it on the various coaches and girlfriend s he is going through. Henman never won the slam for the simple reason his serve wasn't big enough, so extra energy wasted when trying to hold that weaker service. There's a huge Serb that I forget the name of that just smashes aces and nothing else and sits 27th in the world off the back of holding his serve every tournament. For me Murray needs to improve his service to hold service games in the huge matches, even though serve and volley tennis is long since gone. If you ping those aces down then your opponent soon doesn't bother about worrying about breaking service and so an easier ride for the big boomer.
The early days for Murray were idyllic lower middle-class until that traumatic Dunblane School massacre, Andy hiding under a desk as the guy killed 17 kids. Murray doesn't want to talk about it in interviews but clearly witnessed terrible sights and was lucky to make it out alive. In his autobiography he recalls that his mum used to occasionally give Thomas Hamilton rides in their car in their rural idyll and attended a youth group with Hamilton. Anyone who has suffered a traumatic experience knows it will never fully go away.
Growing up with his competitive brother Jamie it was certainly that will to beat his older sibling that helped to make him who he is. The brothers raced through the age groups up north and won everything in the British amateur game, their tennis coach mum Judy deciding a move to Barcelona for tougher competition was the way forward when he reached 15-years-of-age, enrolling him in the Schiller International School for general academia and then coached across the road on the clay courts of the Sánchez-Casal Academy where Ndal learnt his tricks. There was always this thing where the Murray's were supposed to have moved abroad to spite the LTA and succeed outside of a system that was producing few winners but Murray was always funded and helped by the LTA in his career and part paid for the schooling abroad. The move was more about the breakdown of Judy's marriage.
After two years on the Futures Tour he won the Junior US Open in 2004 before joining the full ATP Tour with a wild card to Queens, winning two matches and making the last 16, before going out with an injury, also becoming the youngest ever British Davis Cup player. He then repeated two wins at the following Wimbledon before running out of puff against Nalbandian from two sets up. His first ATP tour win came in 2006 but he was still growing in many ways and won few games in a spell of three wins in three months, a tough learning curve, and those injuries as consistent as his tennis. But he was one of only two guys to beat the all - conquering Federer in that year and so clearly ready, from then on in Murray cruising up the rankings with regular ATP wins, 16 to date. He has definitely moved up a further notch in the last two years, making seven quarter-final performances in the last 13 Slams, including four semi-finals in the last two years, briefly reaching world number two in August 2009 for his efforts. That performance arc suggest the Slam win is very close.
Australian Open Final (2010, 2011) French Open QF (2009) Wimbledon SF (2009, 2010) US Open Final (2008) Other tournaments Tour Finals SF (2008, 2010) Olympic Games 1R (2008)
There's no doubt Murray splits opinion as a man and a tennis player, the first calls of 'bottler' on our door step after losing that third straight final to love. The Paraguay football shirt incident didn't help but lazy hacks failed to point out it was dry sense of humour from a proud and intelligent Scot teasing a two dimensional sports media that was behind that stunt. I know a lot of people who still hate him for that reason alone. I have noticed the tabloid press now call him a sulky Scott when he loses and a heroic Brit when he wins.
As a player he can be tedious to watch, even though his game is quite clever and unique, almost like watching the ultimate park player hustling the professional courts, bought up on those uneven tarmac municipal courts and so a ability to play in tight corners and deal with variable bounce, really using the angles and varying the spin and slice, the dropping of the pace the weapon that really narks the top players. He's not a power player in any way and in some ways that irritates his fellow pros that he's not orthodox in what has become a very banal baseline game the pros feel comfortable in. But messing up the other guy's rhythm by making him stoop and run is the way to turn games and Murray is very good at it, why he will win a slam in the next year for me. Summary: Will win a Slam
Pictures of Tennis in General
A young Agassi took five attempts before winning a slam, and then went on to win all four and Olympic gold!