“I was just pleased that in those few moments, people saw my true personality. I appreciate the support I get, I really do. It helps so much. In the past maybe I did’t have everyone behind me, but that summer was the first time I really felt like the crowd were saying ‘He is one of us’. They really, really wanted me to win, they understood me and how much it meant.”
Thus spoke Andy Murray about his emotional speech after he lost the Wimbledon 2012 final, the fourth Grand Slam final he had contested, and where he had, again, tasted the bitterness of defeat, just a few weeks before it all came together for him, before his golden summer, where he was crowned Olympic champion and finally put his hands on his first major trophy, at the U.S. Open.
This is one of the many gems that adorn the pages of Seventy-Seven, My Road to Wimbledon Glory, the autobiography that comes back a little on his life and early years, but focuses mainly on the road that led to him becoming the first British man in 77 years to win the Wimbledon singles title.
A few pages later, he continues: “After the 2012 Wimbledon final, I hope people who didn’t like me before might at least have understood me better and saw how much I care about tennis. I really want to do well. I really want to win, and not just for myself – I understand how important Wimbledon is for tennis in Britain.”
Throughout the 280 pages of the book, we see Andy Murray as many have not seen him before (or cared to see, more is the pity): honest, sensitive, down-to-earth, and with a certain dose of humour. Neil Harman beautifully put the Scotman’s words together and if it is, at times, a little dishevelled, it is a book that offers an immense insight into the thoughts and life of one we have to label the most misunderstood top player of the ATP World Tour.
From his desire to surround himself with the right people, be they part of his coaching/training team or part of his management, to the matches themselves and the incidence everything had on his career, Murray does not hide much, not even that being number one in the world is not a goal of his: “The number-one ranking does not motivate me, it really isn’t what I am all about. What drives me is winning the Grand Slams. Getting to number one would be nice, but my career has become about the Slams. That is not something I necessarily decided for myself.”
Tomorrow, Murray will enter the mythical Centre Court as defending men’s champion for the first time in his career, almost a complete year after he has given Britain a rare and immense joy: that of seeing one of their own lift the Wimbledon trophy. The reception he will receive will likely be a moment he will not soon forget.
An emotional fellow
“My attitude had also come under scrutiny. I know that at times I had behaved in a way that hadn’t helped me, but I’ve seen other players fall prey to their temper, too, though the best ones can recover quickly. […] Of course, ideally, I’d not have any moments on matches where I get too negative, and it’s something that I have tried to improve on during the last six years. But at the same time it had always been part of my personality to be emotional.”
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