For those doubting Thomases who reveled in their certainty that the dour Scot didn’t have it in him to reach a grand slam Wimbledon final, take a metaphorical ‘slap in the puss.’ To those Brits in the Wimbledon audience (and at home) who shouted for Federer ‘because he’s a more likable bloke,’ up yours. For if ever there was a window for you to dispel your prejudice and support one of Britain’s best ever sporting products, it was during the fighting four hours or so that Murray tried to overcome the world’s best ever tennis player. After more than three quarters of a century, a young Scottish man has brought pride, if not yet a full six pack of glory, back to the now inappropriately named All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
Murray has teetered on the edge of greatness for some time. Wimbledon 2012 was not his first Grand Slam final. In the other three, he went out without winning a set. Yesterday, but for Federer’s extraordinary climax to the second set (which, having already won the first, was always heading the Scotsman’s way), the end result of the match might well have been a different story. The question now on everyone’s lips is, having removed the weight of expectation from his broad shoulders about qualifying for the Wimbledon final, can Murray now go on to win it at some point in the next two or three years? We shall see. It is certainly within his powers.
Meanwhile, it is worth reflecting a bit upon Murray’s past and put the extent of his Wimbledon achievement this year into still greater focus. On court performances (and antics) suggest he is injury prone. His detractors insist this is make belief. Yet medical facts cannot be denied. He was born with a bipartite patella, where one of his kneecaps is two separate bones instead of one. The pain caused by the condition requires more than occasional interruption to his training regime, and enforces his withdrawal from some tournaments. Setbacks which most other professional tennis professionals do not live with permanently.
His parents separated when he was about nine years old. That is trauma enough for a young boy. There was something else however, which might help to explain his obvious shyness in front of the media (evidence: the constant touching of his head, and looking away from his interlocutors). He was a pupil at Dunblane Primary School during the massacre inflicted by that lunatic Thomas Hamilton (who murdered sixteen children and an adult before turning one of four guns he carried, on himself). Murray hid from the gunman in one of the classrooms. In spite of that terrible involvement, in spite of not enjoying the benefits of a stereotypical nuclear family, in spite of his physical abnormality, Murray has propelled himself to dizzying achievements, which should have earned him more consistent acknowledgment even before this new pinnacle of his success (which will have earned him more than half a million pounds by the way).
So Andy, from one true admirer who also was educated in Dunblane (albeit at Queen Victoria School), here’s tae ye, wha’s like ye. Gie few. And the British public, having at last encountered your emotional side, will love you now, dour or not.