Andy Murray at the London ATP World Finals
Andy Murray had this to say after finishing as a semifinalist at the ATP World Tour Finals:
"...for me, it's been the best year of my career by a mile... I've achieved things I've never achieved before. I have to look back on it positively.” (via ATP)
He has every reason to be happy with his accomplishments in 2012.
But apparently the fans are not.
Once for doing no more than changing his racket.
This is a player who brought home a grand slam trophy earlier this season—which was the first for a British man in 76 years. And also someone who won not one, but two Olympic medals—the singles gold and the mixed doubles silver.
What more does he need to do to earn the fans' respect?
It seemed he was gaining admiration from the public this summer after making the final of Wimbledon—the last British man to appear there was in 1938.
Murray fought hard against an inspiring Roger Federer, and when he was the loser in four sets, he gave a tearful and heartfelt speech that had many of the spectators in tears themselves.
A month later, on the same court, Murray came back and won Olympic gold—leaving the Swiss champion with silver. This became a defining moment in his career.
For he had now proven he could beat the top players (having beaten Novak Djokovic to reach that final) at the world's top events. And do it with style. The tears there were of a different kind.
It is even more impressive that he did this while playing back-to-back matches as he was a wild card entry in the mixed doubles, where he partnered little-known, 18-year-old Laura Robson.
It is a testament to Andy Murray’s commitment that he played with such gusto, making both finals, and taking the silver medal right after winning the gold.
He was on a roll, and a few weeks later he found himself fighting for his life against Novak Djokovic—this time for the U.S. Open crown. In a contest that included bizarre stormy conditions of heavy wind and rain, it was a punishing match.
Andy Murray pushed himself harder, lasted the distance, and finally had his hands on his first grand slam trophy.
If only to silence the media, who had continually asked him when he was going to win one, the effort was more than worth it.
The media might now be satisfied that he has proven himself, but the fans don’t seem to have long memories.
In this final match of the year, he reacted with dignity and grace to the poorly-behaved spectators at London's O2 stadium.
But he must have been taken aback by them.
Roger Federer, deservedly, has one of the largest fanbases in the sporting world. But Murray’s achievements are worthy of a great player, being both the reigning U.S. open champion and the world No. 3.
Every player is different on and off the court. And fans can be thankful for the variety variant personalities bring to the game.
And not everyone can be as media friendly as Roger Federer (who holds press conferences in three languages).
But that doesn’t mean that Andy Murray is less worthy. Being a great tennis player should be enough.
Federer, recently said of Murray (via The Herald Scotland):
"Obviously the last six months have been great for him. But it is not just this year, people forget how consistent he has been for several years now."
Of the Olympic final, Federer said: "He was just better."
He added: "I always hoped he would have a reaction like this, to be quite honest, even if it did cost me a gold medal."
Andy Murray has the respect of other tennis professionals.
When will the public see him for what he is—a hugely talented and hard-working competitor who gives it everything he's got.