Monday, July 09, 2012

Thoughts on... Andy Murray

So, like, (to start this blog post style) I've been excited before sporting events before. I've even been a tad nervy on occasion - namely, on the occasion of England playing in the quarter finals of major football tournaments. But, I have to say, I don't think I ever truly believed people who said they felt physically sick before matches.

Then Murray got to the final of Wimbledon.

As the TV build-up swelled to an epic crescendo of strings-backed montage, I was so buzzing with nervous energy I had to get up and have a wander around the flat just to shake it out. I felt properly ill. I tell you, I couldn't even finish my Kettle crisps.

Of course, 24 hours on from That Speech, everyone's a Murray fan. Nice guy, i'n he? But those of us who've always been in his corner know the truth. You thought he was unemotional. Or, weirdly, too emotional. Grumpy, or impassive. Angry, or dull. A traitor to the English. Too British for the Scots. Sports Personality of the Year contender? THAT'S ironic.

Not that I'm contrarily annoyed that he's gained so many new supporters; I'm utterly delighted. I've always loved the way he plays, the dry sense of humour, the aggression, the fight, the moments of inspired brilliance that can elevate him even beyond the heights of 'the big three'. Now even more people can revel in all of that.

For me, sport is at its best when there are fascinating storylines to follow - if you drop into a mid-season match between Everton and Cardiff City in complete isolation then yes, you might find it a little dull unless you happen upon an eight goal thriller. But give it a little time and you start to see the appeal. And tennis, more than most sports I think, is perfect for generating those little plots and sub-plots.

It's so much about the individuals - you follow your favourites not just across the course of a season or until they get transferred to Bayern, but throughout an entire career. Year upon year of injuries, rivalries, tantrums and, if you're lucky, the odd triumph.

So, to all those finally won round by some superb play and a heartfelt speech I say: It's undoubtedly tough to be a Murray fan, but just imagine how it'll feel when he wins his first major. Tears? You ain't seen nothing yet. He'll say he did it for us, and he'll mean it.