Why Andy Murray Is The Most Relatable Sports Star There Is

Murray secured a 7-6, 5-7, 7-5 win over Stan Wawrinka in the Cincinnati Masters first round
15:05, 16 Aug 2022

It’s hard to think of anyone who simply loves their sport the way that Sir Andy Murray does. The very thought of what tennis means to him had him all choked up on Monday night after beating old nemesis Stan Wawrinka in the Cincinnati Masters first round.

“The sport has been a huge part of my life since I started playing when I was four, but probably started taking it seriously once I was 12, 13. So it’s been a huge part of my adult life and the last 20 years,” he said on court following the 7-6, 5-7, 7-5 win, his voice gradually cracking up as he did so. 

“When I was out injured I didn’t know whether I was going to be able to come back, and you remember the reasons why you play the game, and I started playing as a kid because… I love it.”

With that, he was so overcome he had to take a pause. He later continued, telling the crowd how difficult it has been for him to battle back from the hip injury which appeared to have ended his career at various points over the last five years. It was clear from the words he was saying and the emotional tone which accompanied them that it will take something extraordinary to get him off the tennis court anytime soon, even at the age of 35. 

And that can only be good news, because this was just the latest showing of what Murray brings to British sport. Not just in the battling victory which tees up a clash with compatriot Cameron Norrie in the second round, but also in the emotion that he brings to every match. There’s no holding back, whether it’s his trademark bellowing at himself after an unforced error or a good old weep after a key defeat or battling victory.

Murray makes no apologies for his emotion. Not for him the famed British ‘stiff upper lip’, nor the talk of any sport being a “man’s game”, indeed he has been one of the leading advocates for women in sports over the course of his career. He stunned many a dinosaur within tennis by appointing Amelie Mauresmo as his coach in 2014. “I started getting messages from other players, from their coaches, saying: ‘I can’t believe you’re playing this game with the media. You should tell them tomorrow you’re considering working with a dog,’” Murray later revealed to Sky Sports.

He is also a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, and has thrown his weight behind LGBTQ+ rights and same-sex marriage, all while keeping his own personal life relatively private. He has used his platform to support causes for others rather than boost his own image and wealth, which is an increasingly rare quality either in or out of sport these days.

This latest display of unabashed emotion might not have followed a Wimbledon final defeat as in 2012, and it wasn’t quite the sobbing in relief we saw from him after he beat Wawrinka to win the 2019 European Open, his first title since the initial hip problem which so threatened his career. But it was just the latest reminder that Andy Murray is as relatable as he is empathetic, despite his standing as a Knight and one of Britain’s greatest sportspeople of all time.

And the good news is that he is still as in love with tennis as he was 20 years ago. Long may it last.

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