London | Murray – a reflection of his achievements

Wimbledon made Andy Murray’s name. No one who witnessed him becoming the first home player to win its men’s singles in 77 years on a sunny Sunday afternoon in July 2013 will forget it.

Let’s put it that way, he won ‘only’ three Slams because all the other three were taking them Stan Wawrinka

Defeating Novak Djokovic on Centre Court that day ensured sporting mortality on these shores at least, while also establishing him as an instant national treasure. An achievement the late Fred Perry, his British predecessor in securing the most coveted title in tennis, would no doubt have been delighted to applaud.

Murray underlined his special relationship with Wimbledon as he sealed a second crown three years later when he overcame Canadian Milos Raonic. The Scot stands ninth in the all-time Wimbledon list with 61 victories and just 13 defeats.

And has provided multiple moments of skill, anxiety and glory with his never-say-day winning attitude for the “let’s go, Andy” faithful since he reached the third round on his debut as an 18-year-old wild card and described as a “major talent” by John McEnroe.

Murray, now 37, with retirement seemingly imminent, suggested last week before fitness doubts clouded the issue, that it would be “fitting” if he said his final farewells to the home crowd at this year’s Championships after an illustrious playing career which established him as a global sporting icon and earned him a knighthood.

The Dunblane native, also selected for the Paris Games following The Championships, said: “Probably if I was going to finish my career I would rather finish at Wimbledon or an Olympic Games – to me that would probably be more fitting. I’ve had amazing experiences and memories from Wimbledon, but also being part of British Olympics teams.”

Indeed, the All England Club were, as he spoke, gearing themselves up for a spot of pomp and circumstance to mark the occasion of his quitting should Murray give them the green light as they celebrate the 150th anniversary of the most prestigious and revered tournament on earth.

The fact Murray decided to have a procedure just a week before this year’s event to give himself the best chance of remaining in the draw told you everything you needed to know about the size of his love for the tournament and playing the game at the highest level.

A love which provides the inner drive he possesses to squeeze every last ounce out of his stellar playing career in which he also claimed his first major at the US Open in 2012, struck two gold medals at the Olympics and secured 46 titles. On top of that, he sealed his world No.1 spot by defeating Novak Djokovic in the ATP World Finals at the 02 in London at the end of 2016 after starring in Britain’s first Davis Cup victory in 79 years in 2015.

Andy Murray with the second of his Gold medals

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Murray, at his peak, was often mentioned as making up a Fab Four alongside Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Dokovic in an era rated the greatest of all time.

Sam Wawrinka, the 2015 French Open champion who beat Murray in the opening round at Roland Garros this year, said to Sportskeeda: “For me, Andy was part of this Big Four era. From 18-years-old until 30 he was always fighting with the Big Three, he was always there. Let’s put it that way, he won ‘only’ three Slams because all the other three were taking them.

“But he was always in the final, he was always winning a lot still. He’s way ahead of me, he won many more titles than me and his level was close to the Big Three for ten years.”

The odds have been stacked up against Murray ever since his glittering career received its biggest jolt at the height of his powers at The Championships in 2017 when, as defending champion and world No.1, he was forced to limp out of his quarter-final against American Sam Querrey with a hip problem which eventually necessitated a metal joint being fitted.

There has been no shining trophy to display since but the mere fact he has kept going deserves admiration because it has forced him to dig deeper into his physical and mental well than he ever did before that fateful day against Querrey; an effort described as “inspirational” by Federer.

Murray managed to get back to No.36 in the world ranking in August last year, his highest position since a second bout of hip surgery.

But he has been beset by setbacks in 2024. After losing six of his opening eight games in the year, he said in February: “I don’t plan on playing much passed this summer.” He ruptured ankle ligaments in Miami in March which sidelined him for two months before a back problem caused the ace to retire after five games against Australian Jordan Thompson in the second round of the cinch Championships at Queen’s last week and provoke the procedure which involved the removal of a cyst.

He said: “In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t gone on (against Thompson) there because it was pretty awkward for everyone.” (Incidently, he had won his 739th of 1,000 career matches in the previous round when he beat Thompson’s compatriot Alexei Popyrin).

Author/award-winning journalist Mike Donovan has written on tennis for more than 30 years, working for national newspapers and the official Wimbledon website as well as Tennis Threads with whom he authored a soft-backed publication on Andy Murray. He has also written a series of authorised Tottenham Hotspur-related books and has an updated version of Spurs Greatest Games coming out on Pitch this year. He is also working on a book based on his personal experience called Fever Paunch: 60 years Attempting To Play Football

Andy Murray receives medical treatment at Queen's before retiring

(Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)



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