Andy Murray: Scotland’s greatest?
Andy Murray, Britain’s greatest tennis player, has confirmed that he won’t be participating in his next three scheduled tournaments but has yet to make a final decision regarding a much needed hip surgery. Lauren Archer has more.
Murray has been forced to withdraw from the Open 13 Provence, a Marseille-based tournament happening in February, due to his career-long hip injury. In a statement published on the tournament’s website, Murray states: “It’s tough but I don’t have a choice, I was very keen on returning to Marseille where I won the tournament in 2008. This title, one of the first of my career, remains a great memory.”
The three-time Grand Slam singles winner underwent hip surgery last January, in an attempt to prolong his tennis career, but without much success. Since having the surgery in 2018, Murray was only able to play 12 matches, nothing compared to the number of matches he would normally partake in during a season.
In the statement from Open 13 Provence, they make reference to Murray possibly having another hip surgery. The operation — known as the Birmingham hip operation — would involve replacing the femoral head with a metal ball and cementing a metal socket into the hip joint.
Just last week, Murray confirmed he would retire from professional tennis after confiding that he has been physically struggling for a “long time”, mostly due to the hip injury which has plagued him most of his career. The two-time Wimbledon star has set his sights on finishing his career at home, but the withdrawal from the French tournament may be the final straw that breaks the camels back.
Murray will be looking to add a third Wimbledon title to his already full trophy cabinet, with a US Open title, two Olympic gold medals, a Davis Cup win and an ATP World Tour victory already there.
Despite being plagued by his injury during the latter part of his career, Murray has cemented himself as one of Scotland’s greatest sportspeople — with Olympic Scottish racing driver and former track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy claiming Murray is the greatest.
Speaking in 2016, Hoy said: “I personally think to have achieved what he has done in such a competitive era in such a high profile sport is a great achievement.”
Although Scotland has produced many notable sportspeople, Murray has had to fight his way to the top, competing against those of such a high standard, that it took him until the age of 29 to reach World Number One status. He has blazed a pathway for young kids to start participating in tennis, a sport with a relatively small Scottish following until he emerged from Dunblane Sports Club.
At 15, Murray was given the opportunity to train with Rangers Football Club at its school of excellence but declined this position to focus on his tennis career. He moved to Barcelona to further his ability as a tennis player and trained alongside Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who would later become Murray’s fiercest rivals.
Later, Murray became the first British man to win an Olympic singles gold medal since Josiah Richie in 1908, and the seventh man in the open era to win two medals at the same Olympic Games when he partnered Laura Robson to a silver medal in the mixed doubles. Just a month later, Murray claimed US Open victory, defeating Djokovic.
A year later, history changed and Scotland couldn’t have been more proud. Leading up to the Wimbledon Championships, Murray was yet to lose a match since the previous years final and was on a winning streak of 11 matches. On a hot July day, Murray smashed 77 years of hurt. A Brit had finally won Wimbledon. 2016 seemed to be repeated for Murray, winning two Olympic gold medals and snatching the Wimbledon title once more.
Murray has used his position to support women in the industry from calling out journalists to becoming one of the few male tennis players to employ a female coach. Murray felt compelled to speak out in 2014, when he hired Amelie Mauresmo, saying: “It became clear to me that she wasn’t always treated the same as men in similar jobs, and so I felt I had to speak out about that”.
Murray also challenged journalists who seemed to disregard the achievements of Murray’s female counterparts. When BBC presenter John Inverdale praised Murray for becoming the first person to win two Olympic gold medals, Murray replied: “Venus and Serena Williams have won four each.”
Not only will Murray be missed for his ability and skill on the court, his passion to ensure the game becomes equal will rage on. Here’s hoping he decides to take a role in coaching so we won’t be without him for too long.