Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Sports Personality of the Year 2012 - Andy Murray

The case for the tennis player who grew to greatness in front of a nation's eyes

Winning a tennis major is an extraordinary achievement. A player must go on a solo journey through seven matches, each more testing than the last, pushing themselves to their physical limits when at the same time defying nerves that inevitably surface. Winning one with the pressure of 76 years of a nation's pent-up hopes focused entirely on you is something else.

These are the enormous obstacles Andy Murray had to conquer when he beat Novak Djokovic in September to win the US Open, becoming Britain's first grand slam winner since Fred Perry's 1936 triumph.
His victory is even more impressive when you consider that he's competing in arguably the toughest era of men's tennis ever. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic are all multiple grand slam champions and three of the best players to have picked up a racquet. They all possess phenomenal grand slam pedigree and invariably Murray has to overcome any two of them in a slam to win.
While the US Open victory was the greatest achievement of Murray's breakthrough year, the public basked more in his success at the Summer Olympics, where he won singles gold and mixed doubles silver.
photo by Marianne Bevis
As home favourite, Murray was under huge pressure to deliver the title for Team GB. But he did so, and emphatically, losing only one set all tournament and crushing Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the final.
Murray was also making his way to another final with 18-year-old Laura Robson. They forged a fearsome partnership and were only beaten by the No.1 seeds Victoria Azarenka and Max Mirinyi.
Another long-standing record fell to Murray at Wimbledon. He became the first British male to make it to the All England Club final since Bunny Austin in 1938. He was leading Federer too, but dropped intensity at a crucial moment in the second set and from that point momentum was firmly against him.
But Murray won the public's affection with a moving post-match interview on the court. It was a tear-jerking speech that was cruelly conducted immediately after he had lost. Murray poured his heart out to the nation after two emotionally and physically draining weeks. He has been accused before of not showing personality through his play, but in this touching moment at Wimbledon Murray revealed his hopes, motivation and bitter disappointments.
Tennis is an individual sport, where once you're on the court no one can help you. Under the guidance of Ivan Lendl, Murray has shown he can be the very best. It has been a breakthrough year for Andy Murray.

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