Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Murray mania should have been here years ago

Andy Murray became the first British man since 1938 to reach a Wimbledon final on Sunday.

He lost, to Roger Federer. He cried, it was emotional -as one might expect when losing a Grand slam final.

But Murray has also managed to go from the person the nation loves to hate to a national hero.

Quite a feat - a good one, but one I don't think should have been necessary.

Rewind a week ago, even less maybe, and Mr Murray was, in no uncertain terms, considered to be a boring, grumpy Scot who was fairly good at tennis.

I cannot count the number of times that I have heard people say:

“Oh, he's rubbish, he will never win a grandslam!”
“He is so grumpy, he never smiles. When he wins he looks like he has lost.”
“He always goes on and on about how he is Scottish and not British.”
“He is a rubbish Scotsman, even if he manages to win a slam, I still won't like him.”
“I support Murray, but only because there is no one else out there I can support whose British.”

Yet, today, just a few days after he lost to Federer he is the nation's man of the moment. Zero to Hero in a Hercules-esque manner.

He has dismissed all those believes in an afternoon's work – pretty tidy if you ask me.

As one of Murray's longest serving supporters I am happy that so many haters have changed their minds, so many people who “never thought they would warm to Murray,” have.

But it frustrates me that people have had to see this side of him, to warm to him.

Ultimately, it is the same media and journalists who are praising him for his heroic performance, (essentially his sob after the match) who forced him to become the “miserable, emotionless” person in the first place.

Without this rhetoric being forced fed to the public via the media, Murray may have been fully embraced by Great British public a few years back.

We like to think we don't believe everything we see and hear, and claim to know that what we read in the papers is not true, but I think the case of Andy Murray exemplifies the exact opposite.

It all started at Wimbledon 2006, Murray had just turned 18, England were competing in the World Cup, Scotland hadn't qualified, and Murray was joking around with Henman and the BBC interviewer off camera about how Scotland had not even made it to the finals.

Then, when asked on camera who he would support that same evening, he said, in a joking way, “As I am Scottish, I guess I have to support anyone who plays against England.” - a throw away comment, which none of them even thought about again....until the next day.

The papers went wild: 'Murray hates the English' became a sentiment so ingrained in the general public's mind that they believed Murray said it, repeated it, got the t-shirt and wrote a song about it.

Having had that experience as a young player, anyone would then be extremely wary of the press and the way they conducted themselves around the media. You wouldn't say anything vaguely interesting or controversial for fear that the press would turn it around on you.

By producing bland comments, and not bowing to some of the ridiculous questions asked of him, Murray came across as boring and emotionless.

Let's just take a minute to appreciate the ridiculousness of this interview.

Better to be boring than to be anti-English he must have thought.
But Murray became both. Tarnished with both brushes, he couldn't win.

(Side note: It is no wonder Murray comes across as boring, with such ridiculous non-questions being asked of him – the fact that others come so well out of these types of interviews should really be the big surprise)

His personality was still there, but it had to be dragged out by the correct interviewer at the right time.

By producing a few tears after a match and by playing pretty well in the final, the press and public have reversed their opinions - we love a good sob story. 

Murray is no longer an English hating, boring, Scot, he is a warrior, a braveheart. He didn't win, but he was graceful in defeat – ironically the epitome of a what we usually complain about in a British tennis player.

A few tears and he is ours. A modern day hero. Murray - "You should be proud, not disappointed was what the second BBC interviewer said to him" – I agree.

But Murray won't be proud, he will be angry that he lost.

It is this anger of losing which is what we should embrace about Murray, his ability, his talent, his work ethic, 
shots like the one below, and not the fact he simply exemplified his emotion and desire, which is taken for granted in most top sportsmen.

He will come back, he will win a grand slam, and hopefully now his victory will be appreciated even more.


  1. Great article but don't confuse newspaper commentators with the great british public, we're not all the same ;-)

    1. I know, but as far as I can see, the general public tend to believe what they read in the papers - even only on a subconscious level. Therefore, when journalists or writers write about an issue which they keep pressing, they are imposing their ideas on the great British Public.

      Unless, of course, a reader has an interest in a particular subject, and then they will tend to read further into that subject and be able to reject the narratives being imposed on them.

  2. Saying "general public" implies that me, as someone from the public, would think that way.

    I know what you mean but think of it this way, millions of other people thought what you've just written but they couldn't be bothered to write or say antyhing therefore you only heard the voices agreeing with the commentators and your article lumps me in with them even though I've not said anything.

    This is why when Chris Morris or Charlie Broker takes the piss out of the media I love it. They recognise that not everyone thinks the same and that there are some of out there that have a brain and, crucially, use it ;-)

    1. So, as a member of the public, who either is/isn't interested in tennis - British tennis in particular what were/are your views on Andy Murry... sorry, Murray?


  3. He's tennis player that got lucky when he got in to the final as he's not "that" great but he is good.

    That's literally it, I don't think anything else and didn't read any crap about him until I read your article and then googled what had been said/written.

    My care factor was and is around 1/100. If he won I'd be happy for him and for britain, that's it.

  4. I notice Charlie refers to the twats as "The people.... [who want Murray to smile]" which means it doesn't include me so I am more empathatic to what he's written.

  5. "He's tennis player that got lucky when he got in to the final as he's not "that" great but he is good."
    And how did you formulate this view on him? media? (this could go on)

  6. Enjoyed your latest blog especially enhanced by the utube snippets. I agree that we hardly ever see the jokey side of Murray and it is understandable that he comes across as boring and cagey when faced with such inane questions from most interviewers. Why is it that John McEnroe who has become a perceptive commentator hardly ever does interviews? Did you see Murray on Mock the Week: he was in the audience with his girlfriend and was the butt of several comments from the panel but was laughing and obviously enjoying the badinage.