World No.3 Andy Murray – A man yet to satisfy the nation

Andy Murray has always fallen short of a Grand Slam titleWhen it comes to national sport, there are none more frustrated than the British. World Cups, Grand Slams, European Championships, to us these tournaments spell nothing but years of dashed hopes and disappointment. British sport seems to have an uncanny knack to promise so much, and yet deliver so little.

This is often because for all the promising young talent that emerges from our schools and universities it is often only a singular figure who succeeds at a truly world class level, and this is certainly true with tennis, with Andy Murray being ranked 153 places above the his compatriot James Ward. Now he holds the hopes of a nation upon his own shoulders, with no sign of any supporting players rising up through the rankings.

This is no new phenomenon, with the dreams of a first grand slam title since Fred Perry looming over the heads of both Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, before Murray.

In both the cases of Henman and Rusedski, neither really came close to fulfilling this ambition, with the exception of a single Grand slam final for Rusedski in New York. In many ways, this is the perfect example of the failure to fulfill potential and destroy the hopes of an expectant nation forever. As a result, the public, who were once totally infatuated with Rusedski and Henman (in particular), and the success that they promised for British tennis, have found it hard to warm to the talent of World No.3 Murray. The years of shouting ‘Come on Tiger Tim!’ with no reward has effectively disheartened the public, a direct result from the constant disappointment of the past. However I believe that the country should be far from dispirited, and lingering on the failures of old British No.1’s.

Far too often I hear critical responses to Murrays failed attempts at Grand Slam glory, with the Scotsman often labeled another ‘nearly man’, and having his career compared to that of Henmans. Yet, at the tender age of 24 Murray has done more than enough to prove his real promise as a tennis player, giving results often overlooked by the general public.

He has been in 3 grand slam finals, already reaching more than Henman and Rusedski did in their entire careers put together. He has won 21 career titles, recently wining in Shanghai, Bangkok and Tokyo to rise above Federer in the rankings. He has proved he is capable of beating the best in the world on more than one occasion, often unlucky to lose to the likes of Nadal and Djokovic, and perhaps most importantly of all, he is constantly showing he can improve on his game to rival the best the world has to offer. As a result he has stayed within the world top 4 consistently for over 3 years, rising also to the World number 2 spot, something never achieved by Henman.

Not so long ago, Djokovic was being labeled as a 1 hit wonder after only winning a single grand slam before 2011, but a run of 43 matches unbeaten and a rise to world number 1 has silenced his critics.

Murray has now stated his intent to follow in Djokovic’s footsteps, and his current run of 24 wins is a promising sign, and yet more for British tennis fans to ponder on. Admittedly Murray’s success at the end of his career will be judged upon his achievements in the Grand Slam events, especially Wimbledon, but that time is not yet upon us. With a an undoubtedly talented individual winning so often at the moment, there is still plenty of time, and much justifiable expectation that Murray can be the man to satisfy a nation, and we shouldn’t give up that hope.

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