LONDON (Reuters) – For a nation steeped in tennis history but long starved of success, Britain’s Andy Murray was the gift that kept giving.
From the moment the scrawny kid from the Scottish town of Dunblane won the junior title at the 2004 U.S. Open, he was touted as the real McCoy.
Years - Hip - Murray - Attitude - Anything
He did not disappoint and 14 years later, with his battle-scarred right hip apparently proving beyond even Murray’s never-say-die attitude, only the hard-hearted could wish him anything other than goodwill as he prepares for life after tennis with his 32nd birthday looming.
Whatever happens in the final act of his career he belongs in the pantheon of British sporting greats.
Career - Toughest - Tennis - Eras - Murray
Despite a career forged in the toughest of all tennis eras, Murray has 45 career titles, including three Grand Slams, two Olympic golds, a Davis Cup and $60 million in career earnings.
Yet it was perhaps a defeat that opened the door to greatness, and a nation’s affection.
Wimbledon - Murray - All - England - Club
The 2012 Wimbledon final, Murray’s first at the All England Club where he shouldered home hopes for more than a decade, saw him eclipsed by Roger Federer and then receive a standing ovation as the tears flowed during his runner-up speech.
Britain loves a plucky loser but Murray was to prove anything but.
Wimbledon - Lawns - Weeks - Wave - Euphoria
He returned to the Wimbledon lawns weeks later and rode a wave of national euphoria to beat Federer to Olympic gold.
A few weeks after that he outlasted Serbia’s Novak Djokovic to win the U.S. Open having lost his first four Grand Slam finals — a record he shared with coach Ivan Lendl.
Significant - Flushing - Meadows - Victory - Ghost
Significant as that Flushing Meadows victory was — it banished the ghost of Fred Perry by ending a 76-year wait for a British Grand Slam champion — what followed a year later took Murray’s standing to an entirely different level.
With Rafael Nadal and Federer...
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