Murray’s Premature Adulation

Posted on January 16, 2019

As a sports fan, I was quite intrigued to watch the toe snapping tribute to Andy Murray at The Australian Open the other day.

This not because I don’t like Murray, quite the opposite. Murray is a fine competitor in a brutal sport. However, the Aussies ran a tribute that, following the in the footsteps of the BBC, was bordering on an obituary.

I saw the press conference last week when Murray (who is beset by a hip problem) said that he didn’t really know whether it was worth him carrying on. This is due to the pain he is suffering but he didn’t, as far as I am aware, retire.

So, after he got knocked out on Monday by Roberto Agut, Melbourne gave him a tearful farewell tribute on the big TV screen. Then Murray said he hoped he could return next year.

Oops, that wasn’t meant to happen!

When is it Right to Retire?

The problem with Murray is that he is too scared to retire. He doesn’t know what else to do. So, there is every chance he is going to try to find some way of having another crack at playing again.

The problem I see is that Murray is not your standard shit British player. He is a double Olympic Gold medal winner, double Wimbledon champion, US Open winner and Davis Cup winning champion. Jeremy Bates he is not.

This is a problem because I can’t see that at 31, he can return to that kind of level with a worn-out hip. He looks like an old bloke just walking into the arena.

I would prefer to remember Murray as the man who wasn’t satisfied being the next Tim Henman (a decent chap and good player). Henman’s world was a safe one as the darling of The Daily Mail and glorious semi-final defeats.

Adored England Doris’s and Joan’s who queued up waving their little Union Jack flags whilst reeling at the price of strawberries and cream, Henman (who would have been a champion in the 1950’s) had his market.

Becoming a Winner

Murray didn’t want to be a gallant loser and that was apparent in his minor tantrums and lack of interest in being the darling of Wimbledon. He wanted to win but found himself stuck in an era of impeccable excellence.

What did he do? He trained, trained and trained some more. In the blistering Florida sunshine, he transformed himself from a scraggy, surly young Scotsman into a highly tuned athlete. Then he started winning. Instead of being outside the ‘Big Three’ he was now one of ‘The Big 4’.

Then, as his pursuit of excellence drove him to number one in the world at the end of year ATP final, his body collapsed. It was a shame, but he has still had a better career than all the other British tennis players put together.

Popularity Ranking

Murray has not always been popular. He was of course demonised by bigots for a light-hearted quip about England in the 2006 World Cup Finals. It was a curious moment where the type of people who bemoan political correctness, get all indignant about a Scotsman making a joke about not wanting England to win at football.

Others wished he could be more like Tiger Tim or least go on Question of Sport, pull silly faces and laugh at the perennially unfunny Matt Dawson.

Personally, I prefer a winner. I like it when someone sulks when they lose as it shows they care. I hope he doesn’t come back just to reach the third round at Wimbledon and be a heroic loser.

It wouldn’t suit him.

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