Monday 8 July 2013

From the Scots and of the Brits - Murray's win at the Wimbledon 2013

I recall the last evening and wonder - Was this the greatest evening in the history of British tennis in the Open era? Andy Murray sheds off the monkey after 77 years to become the first British singles male player to win at Wimbledon. Fred Perry, a champion in Table Tennis and Tennis had many accolades as an athlete. He has remained the benchmark in British tennis for a long time and with Andy Murray winning yesterday, the best of the present has finally shook hands with the best of the past.

Andy Murray tasted his first real success at the 2012 London Olympics, when he won the gold medal against the odds vs. Federer. Though it was in Wimbledon, it was not quite the Wimbledon. Nevertheless, he united the kingdom of British Islands last year and gave a reason to celebrate. With that victory, he also gave them a real hope. 

A hope, which agonisingly and falsely haunted many fans who turned up each year in anticipation of watching their fellow Brit win the Wimbledon Championships. Though it must be noted, Virginia Wade is technically the last British player and the only British woman till date to win Wimbledon singles title (1977, the centenary year of Wimbledon championships).

Murray went on to win the US Open after the gold medal in 2012, thereby becoming the first singles male player from Isles of British to win a Grand Slam tournament since, you guessed it right, Fred Perry. Alright, now that he had arrived on the circuit, the expectations had only begun to swell and it reached new heights at this year’s finals. Personally, I prefer Djokovic style of playing tennis to Murray’s - I quite don’t know why it is this way, but it has been this way since a long time. I chose Sampras over Agassi, Federer over Nadal and now Djokovic over Murray.

However, credit must be given where it is due and yesterday, it was the Murray show. He is now the first British male to win any title in the open era, an era of shorts and with just 26 years of age, expect him to fight it out for more titles to come.

The men’s singles finals of 2013 Wimbledon also happened to be the first match this year where I sat to watch from start to finish. The finals started minutes after Sebastian Vettel had won his home Grand Prix for the first time - I wondered if history were to be made in tennis too.

Growing up, I always felt United Kingdom as a whole and the individual countries that make up the Great Britain were skewed in nature - especially and atleast to me in matters related to sports. Be it football, rugby or even cricket, you talk about England, Scotland and Wales (In cricket, England and Wales are combined). However, the Olympic traditions in this part of the world are maintained and continue to operate under one banner – Great Britain. Davis Cup tennis is included in this list too.

It is the sport that dictates where your feelings are and what outfits, paints and tattoos one has to flaunt.

Till date, I have not been able to get beyond the definitions of the island of Britain and the countries which give the definition of the same. David Cameroon, was seen cheering for Andy Murray and alongside him – Bradley Cooper, Gerard Butler, Mick Jagger, Sir Chris Hoy and the entire crowd, irrespective of which country they were from, all cheered for Britain’s sake and not necessarily as Scots. 
 David Cameron, PM of United Kingdom and First Minister Alex Salmond raising the Scottish flag
Image Courtesy: Sun
This is the uniqueness of type of Sport you play and Murray was indeed lucky that tennis is not divided by one’s country like other sports in United Kingdom.

He is by far the greatest Scottish tennis player ever. He now needs to win a career Grand Slam, which will put him on level with Fred Perry as the greatest British male tennis player ever. Tennis was not an Olympic sport at the time Perry was at his peak in tennis.

After years and many decades, the British tennis fans have finally got their true tennis hero. I always wondered why they haunted Tim Henman, who at his best was a semi-finals material. He was in semi-finals on four occasions at Wimbledon between 1998 and 2002 and that achievement alone deserved the status of having a hill named after him. Such was the state of British tennis.

The tennis in Britain has gone to a new level in the past year. Andy Murray, the Olympic gold medal winner, US Open champion and now Wimbledon has only raised the bar for fellow British men who wish to pursue tennis.

Who among the crowd yesterday had witnessed Fred Perry’s achievements too in 1936? It looks highly unlikely as 77 years is a huge gap. Since then, there have been a lot of changes in Britain, yet the name of Fred Perry remained constant in the annals of their tennis history. Make no mistake; it will continue to do so, however now, there is a new addition in Murray, which people will not forget either. Both their names will be taken in the same breath, till the time a new player reaches their level.

Will Murray be awarded with the knighthood? I don’t see any reason why he won’t have his chance at it soon, considering the merits that are taken into account for awarding the prefixed title of Sir to one’s name.
My love with tennis began watching my cousins adoring the plays of Sabatini, Graf and Seles. Though it must be said on a serious note, it was Wimbledon in 1993 watching Sampras take the title. He followed up with six more, before bidding a good bye to the sport in 2002.

Roger Federer, who by no means is finished (atleast by his admission), won his first Wimbledon in 2003. I am not sure, if he plays in the next year’s Wimbledon, but he can only improve his record at Wimbledon and at the worst will still remain in level with seven victories next only to Sampras and William Renshaw (in the 19th century).

Now, in 2013 Andy Murray wins his first Wimbledon. Will he too move to the next level and join the elite company which is jointly held by Federer, Renshaw and Sampras? Or will he be just known as the next best player in Britain after Fred Perry? We just have to wait. To me, it doesn’t matter.

Like i said before, I don’t see myself rooting for Murray like I did for Sampras and Federer. 

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