The Mystery of Andy Murray: His Wimbledon Quest

June 17, 2009 · Print This Article

All about the ice-cream?

That echo of emptiness one hears when entering Center Court at The All England Club during the perennial summer expo known as Wimbledon, should never be mistaken with the pristine and polite pin-drop cheers of the English crowd.

Nor is that silence in anyway to be misinterpreted or hitched to the lush grass ambiance of the ivy covered walls which enclose the outside world from disturbing the eclectic harmony from the racket’s of the best tennis players on the planet.

Omitting the above-mentioned perfectly groomed society known as Wimbledon, there does however reside a gloom-and-doom sensation, a resounding concern for all those closely connected with the pulse of SW19. When in the world are we going have a home-country champion?

Over the next two weeks, the United Kingdom, and all of it’s purple-and-green-dyed hysteria will once again be looking towards two words of solace and refuge as they shake their beautiful banners in disarray — Andy Murray.fred-perry

The lackluster feeling (vacancy if you will) of not having a male singles champion for nearly 75 years, will be designated in the distinct hand’s of the Scot, to not only change, but make certain.

His mission, whether he likes it or not: will be to hoist the coveted Gold trophy on the second Sunday of the Championships.

With Mr. Murray being the only clear and present danger to capture the title this year — all eyes, ears and enjoyment of strawberry’s and cream will be centered around Murray- Mania.

Let’s not forget everyone, here’s a guy who will even get a nod of encouragement at the bottom of every Haagan-Dazs ice cream sold, which will read “Go Murray”.

With a bulls-eye carefully crafted on his tennis whites, (a nice limited edition Fred Perry number may I add) an onslaught of ramped Murray followers will be dissecting his each and every move.

One wonders if the lone warrior to the crown of the lawns will be able to persevere and concur the magnitude of expectations which will surround him during the fortnight?

Let’s now take a glimpse into the pressure filled affliction which the Scot will have to endure in the up-coming two weeks.

We’ve all heard it a million times over:

Why should we feel sorry for athletes that make millions of dollars a year? If they bomb out of an event or let their team down, so be it…they don’t care about me, why should I care about them? I pay good money to watch them compete… I expect results…

Well, there is some truth to that mindset, but when you factor in the immense pressures pro-athletes face nowadays, shouldn’t some sort of sympathy be received?

There are certainly legacies in pro sports which should be cherished. You have your Boston Red Sox dynasty; your Los Angles Lakers Kingdom (doesn’t that belong to LeBron now?); the seven Tour de France’s of Lance Armstrong; the empire which is the Detroit Red Wings.

But what about tennis? I mean, sure, we have the co-holders to the proverbial Greatest of All Time debate: Pete Sampras and now Roger Federer. We have Andre Agassi and the current rock-star of the tour Rafael Nadal: perhaps the two most charismatic and loved champions to date. And then there was that Rod Laver guy, I’ve heard he’s pretty good too.

With all of the achievements and benchmarks the aforementioned tennis giants have set and achieved — what can be done about those records which need to be broken? Those records which yearn to be shattered — who no one is proud of?

The record in question which desperately needs to be addressed, which constantly, and tiredly has been answered by all those who proudly uphold the Union Jack is: the torment of having to admit that the last British Champion has not come around since the late 30’s – 1936 to be precise – by the great Fred Perry.

Perry, for those of you who have been hiding under the canopy of Court 1 for the past 30-years trying to catch a brief glimpse of some free tennis (I don’t blame you in the least, even grounds passes at Wimbledon are a pretty penny these days), was the last Wimbledon title holder to play for Great Briton in 1936.

Yes that’s right folks, no English folklore here — the hallowed lawns of The All England Club have not seen a home-country grand slam champ since Perry, who won his last title at the Big W in the late 30’s!

Now comes the bad news: The Brits do have a shot at rectifying decades without a Champion — but one shot, is all there gonna get.

Murray is the chosen one, ladies and gentlemen, with the scope on the Scot being heightened during the next two weeks. The countdown to 21-sets won, will begin shortly.

In the meantime let’s take a deeper more refined look into the man who just might fulfill “the feat” this year.

The 22-year-old Scotsmen who plays for Great Briton, is without question the best and perhaps only shot at a home-country champion. With the number three ranking in the world, and an array of firepower to support his cause; not forgetting his most prized asset which is his patients (remember he trained in Spain as a youngster), Andy Murray certainly has the right stuff for Wimbledon glory.murray-7

But within thatright stuff”, does lie an intrigue and imminent danger when jumping on the Murray bandwagon. Andy (or Andrew as he is known by his many supporters) has never been your typical Scotsmen. He’s no Tim Henman if that’s what you were looking for? He is brash, outspoken and isn’t afraid to be un-Henman like. He lets you know what he is feeling — whether you want to or not. He is awkward, and even has the most dull and non-provoking voice in the world. Something he would not hesitate to admit.

The last time i checked however, riffling a backhand down the line did not require singing like Whitney Houston?

So will this be the year? Will Murray finally be able to detox his English supporters from the plague of the non-performing, home-country chaps of the past?

Well it just may happen this year, but before we continue, first things first, please don’t call Murray a chap!

Murray recently spoke about his Wimbledon challenge and the pressures which he is set to embrace on the eve of The Championships.

“I think a lot of people, ex-players, use it as an excuse [for] why someone British has not won Wimbledon, but I personally do not think it makes any difference once the tournament starts. It is the little build-up before, a little more stressful than other tournaments before, but once it starts it’s like all the other Slams. You get great support from all the matches, everyone wants you to win and that is a huge help and a big bonus. Like I said yesterday, I put a lot pressure on myself and expect a lot of myself in the big tournaments. That helps me play better. “

Well spoken. You see Andy, being like Gentlemen Tim is not that tough after all?

If Murray is to win the Big W this year, there is no question that the stars will have to align. With that being said, the tabloid leading questions which will litter every magazine and newspaper cover for the duration of his stay in England might go something like this:

Can Murray defeat the rejuvenated Swiss genius Roger Federer? Will Andy be dandy enough to tame the raging bull known as Rafael Nadal? Will the Scot brush aside the predictably-un-predictable Novak Djokovic?

Those be fighting words. Let the mystery begin.

Murray has never been one to shy away from telling the public or his fellow players about what makes him tick.

He really doesn’t care if Roger Federer believes he hasn’t improved on his tactics or game-style in recent years — he cares about winning.

Murray is also not concerned if Argentine Juan Martin del Potro messes around and calls for a trainer (five times a set) in order to disrupt his inevitable flow to victory — once again its about winning.

This dance to the beat of your own drum mentality is precisely what has served the Scot well up until this point in his career. His lone and core objective has always been to become the best player on the planet.

There was however a time when Andy’s quest to the top was not easily foreseen. Early on in his playing career Murray had many home-grown adversities to deal with. The LTA had a straggle hold on a young Murray for quite some time — something the very expressive Scot was not found of.

His partnership with Brad Gilbert was a bust (once again LTA induced), with their inevitable break-up having nothing but positive re-precautions on Murray’s tennis.

With the progress of slow and hard-earned success, his fame and expectations changed. Murray was now independent and could finally flourish with the true ease of his personality.

His partnership with new(er) coach Miles Maclagan (Andy’s choice of course), vastly improved his work ethic – a liability during the early stages of his career. His focus and self-belief now seemed unbreakable.murray_muscles

With Wimbledon on the horizon, that self-belief will be put to the ultimate test.

It is important stay within the confines of all of the inclined positives which Murray has achieved. Although he is certainly the budding future hopeful of British tennis; there has always been a transparency of self-doubt that has resided in his grand slam results. Simply put, he has yet to win one.

Going into Australia this year the tennis world had been buzzing over the potential coronation of a new grand slam champ. Murray was on a roll, and seemed ever ready to win his first major title. But a hot Fernando Verdasco and what was later diagnosed as a viral infection, once again sent a disappointed Scotsmen packing without the hardware.

And even though no one expected Murray to win the French Open — you better believe Murray did — otherwise Alex Corretja and a rigorous clay-court schedule would not have been created.

As we now move closer to the third leg on the Grand Slam calender, Murray will not be the only one who craves the grandest prize in tennis — it is also his legion of devoted Murray-Mania driven fans who sit a top Murray-Mountain and want nothing more than to have modern day Champion to look up to. The memory of the man who dawns Murray’s attire is just not cutting it anymore.

In all honestly,  Murray’s game is not what will prevent him from winning Wimbledon this year. The technical and tactical concerns have been check-marked.

What lies as the underlying origin of concern, which will hamper Murray the most as he embarks on his hopeful grass-court commonwealth during the forth coming fortnight, will be the tsunami of mass-media pressure which will be inflicted on him throughout. Pressure which NO home-country player has ever been able to escape. (Just ask the French).

Let’s will give Murray his due credit. He has been able to (thus far) swat away all concerns that pertain to media attention. Fabricated or not, Murray is talking the talk, to the highest order.

“I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this the next week, but for the people that sit and read the papers and that write the papers and do the bits on TV and on radio, `You can get caught up in it if you want to.

For me, if I go into a Grand Slam feeling confident and having won a tournament, regardless of whether it’s here or in Paris or the U.S. Open, it’s good for my game. I’m not planning on getting caught up in the whole hype, and the pressure, because I don’t think that helps if you do.”

Oh really, Andy? Well like I said earlier, when you have a slogan of encouragement written for you at the bottom of an ice cream container — you are expected to come up with some serious goods.

With The Championships rearing it’s sacred and newly enclosed roof over the bounds of tennis world — one man — and one man only will share the entire weight of nation yearning for the echo’s of emptiness that have been heard for upwards of 73-years to finally be relinquished.

Those sensational last words of certitude which will be welcomed more than ever on that second Sunday on Center Court this year — game, set and championship Murray.

You better believe that no one wants those sacred words of tranquility to be blasted across Great Briton more than Murray himself. And although he has proved up until this point, to do his “own thing”, the pressures for victory which increase ten-fold by each graceless and piercing year which a British-less champion is crowed at Wimbledon is hard to brush aside, even for Murray. That burden to solely facilitate a union of prominence for those who claim to have the grandest event in the game, without a ruler, requires more than just talking the talk. Only results are accepted.

There is only so much escaping that can be done, when the anticipation of the print and the cheer fancy only one chap.

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