Tuesday, July 9, 2013

All hail the almighty Andy Murray.

A king has been crowned. At long last the British, after seventy-seven years, have found their home grown winner. The peasants awaited with bated breath. Seventy-seven years - oh, the despair.

The darkened clouds that had prevailed for those decades long trials and tribulations finally evaporated. Though not before encasing a Nation in a claustrophobic bubble of searing expectations and heart rendering angst.

Those same peasants, full of hope and regularly mingling with desire, were never quite sure whether their patience was to acquire anything more tangible than the nearly man. Every July they would flock to the summer oasis of Wimbledon. A sprawling expanse of blossoming ambition and longing, it never did seem to quite match up to the desires of a Country lost in the brooding masses of melodramatic anxieties.

Those Spring offshoots had sprouted only to be decimated by the withering spear of dread blasting through centre court each time their best attempted to give the Tennis world a good shake. By mid July there was to be a black hole of negativity that had sucked those buds up, along with an eternity worth of hope.

Long before Murray arrived on the scene there was Tim Henman. Though not on the same stratospheric level of talent as Murray, nothing less than winning each and every year was expected of him. They even named a hill after the poor bloke. Henman hill became a byword for over hyped hope. It's not that Henman didn't have the talent - He did, but when you haven't won since 1936, the expectations that occur do overwhelm.

Initially they did for Murray, too. He may be the champion now, but it wasn't always the case. The twenty-six year old, who turned pro in 2005, never quite had the game to match the talented array of superstars in the forms of Federer, Nadal and Djockovic. Or so it seemed. Some wondered, often loudly, whether the Scot had the mental fortitude to scale the heights of Grand Slam greatness.

Finals had been lost, usually in three dismal sets and all at the Australian Open. The Tennis gods didn't approve of him there and they sure didn't think much of him at the other three slams, either. Not surprising really. More often than not he would be seen moping around the court when things were not going his way. Instead of fighting back, thoughts were of missed opportunities. There were the constant looks to his support box for reassurance. Oh, and that support box. Usually overflowing. Rather stunningly, in breaking news, only one person can play the singles game on each side. Intriguingly, it has been ascertained that Murray himself was indeed best suited for this particular job.

Then it all began to change. He hired former great Ivan Lendl as his coach. Known for his ruthlessness during his own playing career, the Czechoslovakian slowly but surely began to instil that same hard edge into Murray.

Finally, after twelve months of working with Lendl, the breakthrough came. He won. No, not Wimbledon. Instead it was the US Open. Not quite the same but not too bad either. The big three had now turned into an even larger big four.

A glowing example to all, the 6ft3" Scot had shown what hard work and perseverance could achieve. It was onwards and upwards for him. There was to be no looking back this time. Hard work, perseverance, talent and belief - He had all the bases covered. Or at least it was presumed so. There was just one tiny hurdle . . . Wimbledon.

But as we now know, this major obstacle was treated like a minor blip by the battle hardened Murray. After many years of British sufferance, it happened; their hero had finally generated what no other since the great Fred Perry had -A treasured win at Wimbledon. No more angst for all involved.

Autumn's will bring less soul searching, Winter's will be all that much warmer, Spring will bounce into a summer, that as far as Murray is concerned, will last an eternity.

Undoubtedly, there will always be pressure for as long as he decides to compete. But the tension has now been released. At the beginning of July, it could have been predicted that there were three more grand slam titles in his future. Now? Ten, twelve . . . who really knows, maybe it will surpass even that.

His psyche had endured so much for so long. Many wondered whether it could withstand. In the end it did. And we are all glad of that. Well, maybe not all. Federer, Nadal and Djockovic are presumably none too pleased. But, all the same, the general populace love a great story.

This sure is one of those.

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