Shedding a tear for our tennis ace Andy Murray
Last updated at 20:06, Thursday, 12 July 2012
Andy Murray is a true sporting hero – he can cry!
I found the post-match coverage of the Wimbledon men’s tennis final embarrassing, to say the least.
ITV’s breakfast show Daybreak was probably the worst offender. There was more said about Murray’s emotional upset after the game than there was about the game itself.
And the upshot, according to all the reports, is that we now all love Andy Murray.
He has won the hearts and minds of a nation, not because he became the first British man in 76 years to reach the Wimbledon final, but because he cried!
Apparently his lack of emotion previously meant he was regarded as cold – and that meant he wasn’t a real sportsman.
I feel I am repeating myself, because I wrote almost an identical column years ago when Murray started to look like Britain’s hope for the future.
At the time he did nothing to endear himself to the English public by emphasising that he was Scottish first and British second.
He also made some comment about supporting any football team but England.
It is not something he should have said publicly – and in the same week that John Terry is going on trial for racist remarks, I am not condoning anything that might be perceived as racism.
His comment is something that I have heard many times, however, especially from young and extremely patriotic Scottish kids, including my own nieces and nephews.
And I, the defender of equality and fierce opponent of racism, have laughed at their joke.
At the same time, me and all my family have had experience of English people crossing the border only as far as Gretna Green and complaining about the “funny money” and the Scottish weather.
My sister, a bridal make-up artist in Gretna, said she has been in a hotel where one room is in England and the other in Scotland, and still the brides complain about the weather.
It has been true in the past – although not so much now – that if a Scot has “achieved” he is regarded as being, British and if he has failed he is referred to as being Scottish.
So that is the background to Andy Murray’s silly remarks, and let me hurriedly point out that, to our knowledge, he has never slept with a team-mate’s wife, cheated on his fiancé with elderly prostitutes, got drunk in public or even found it necessary to file a super injunction to keep some sordid behaviour out of the public eye.
We had a young swimmer in New Zealand by the name of Danyon Loader. He was amazing enough to bring us back Olympic gold medals and there were parades through the city of Dunedin for him as he was feted and fawned over.
Danyon was probably even worse than Andy Murray at courting the press. He was uncomfortable and almost monosyllabic in his answers. He was branded sullen and ungrateful and generally divided a nation who wanted to claim the golds he had won but would far rather have them around the neck of someone more attractive.
So, what exactly do we want from Andy Murray in the end?
Do we want a fast-talking guy with a toothy smile and all the right answers, or do we want someone who strives and wins?
Our ambassadors can be the former. Our sports people should be the latter.
Nobody is going to be standing on the Olympic podium, wrapped in a Union flag later this month, because they simply know how to handle the press or how to win friends and influence people.
They will be standing there because they have worked and pushed and have won.
I cried on Sunday. I started when the crowd started chanting Murray’s name, urging him on. I cried again when he broke down after the game, because I felt his disappointment and because there had been so much expectation on him.
But I was glad that Roger Federer won his seventh Wimbledon final because he deserved it too.
Both of these men played fantastic tennis that kept us on the edge of our seats.
Federer should be lauded for his skill, his ability and his determination to climb back after a slump in his career.
And Andy Murray should be hailed as a hero for being the first Brit in 76 years to reach the Wimbledon men’s final. He should be congratulated for his years of dedication and focus.
We’ve now got the Olympics to look forward to, and Murray will remain our best hope for a medal in tennis there too.
I hope he gets one. And when he is standing on the podium, whether to receive gold, silver of bronze, we will know its because of his tennis, and not his tears.
First published at 19:25, Thursday, 12 July 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk