BRITAIN'S GREATEST PLAYER SINCE FRED PERRY
The 2013 Wimbledon men’s champion was born 15 May 1987 in Glasgow, Scotland. Andy Barron Murray grew up with his elder brother Jamie, in Dunblane near Stirling. His mother Judy was an outstanding player and had won 64 Scottish titles. Having decided the pro tour wasn’t for her, she decided instead to concentrate on becoming a coach, and whilst raising a family, also ran a children’s clothes shop. Andy’s father Willie worked in the retail trade.
As toddlers, Andy and Jamie played various sports in the garden at their home. Later, along with other children, they took part in their mother’s coaching sessions at the nearby Dunblane sports club.
Initially Andy wasn’t as good a player as Jamie, (who is 15 months older), and Judy spent extra time feeding him balls to help his coordination. Andy soon improved, and although he played his first tournament at age five, tennis was just one of the many sports he and Jamie tried along with golf, rugby and gymnastics. Andy was most taken by football, for which his maternal grandfather, Roy Erskine, had played professionally for Hibernian.
In the mid-1990s Judy became Scottish National Coach, and organized trips for groups of the best Scottish juniors, including Andy and Jamie, around Great Britain.
UNOFFICIAL WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPION AGE 12
At age eight Andy won the prestigious 10-and-under tournament at Solihull; winning the event three years running. Jamie was also an excellent junior, and reached the final of the 1998 12-and-under junior Orange Bowl – the unofficial world junior championships.
Judy said that having Jamie as an older, stronger brother encouraged Andy to work extra hard to try and keep up.
When Andy was 11, Judy asked Scottish coach Leon Smith to take over the role of being his main coach. Smith held this position for the next six years, and Judy trusted and allowed him free reign to develop Andy’s game.
In December 1999 Andy went one better than Jamie; winning the 12-and-under junior Orange Bowl, beating Tomas Piskacek of the Czech Republic in the final.
Just before his 13th birthday, Andy was given the chance to sign as a schoolboy for Glasgow Rangers Football Club. He turned it down though, as he had decided that he wanted to be a professional tennis player instead. Around this time Jamie left home to attend an academy in England, but returned within a year, upset over having not improved as much as he and Judy felt he should have.
Despite having few good standard hitting partners, Andy’s progress continued, and in January 2001 at age 13, he reached the final of the 14-and-under Petit As tournament at Tarbes losing there to Russian Alexandre Krasnoroutski.
LEAVING FOR SPAIN
In 2002 at age 15, Andy enrolled at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona. He had made the decision to train abroad the previous year, when playing in the 16-and-under European Cup, in which Great Britain lost in the final to Spain.
Having talked to Rafael Nadal following a game of racquetball, he told his mother, “Rafa’s practising with Carlos Moya, and I’m having to practise with a few county-level players, my brother and my mum. Rafa’s out in the sun all day – he hardly goes to school, and he’s playing four-and-a-half hours a day. I’m playing four-and-a-half hours a week. It’s not enough!”
The cost of the academy at the time was £25,000 per year, plus competition costs. Funding and sponsorship from the LTA, Sportscotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland paid some of the bill, but the Murrays had to fund around half the cost themselves.
At Sanchez-Casal’s Andy was able to train outdoors in the sun for up to six hours a day, with players from all over the world. Within a short time of his arrival, and on consecutive days, he beat Guillermo Coria, and split sets with Carlos Moya, both of whom were ranked in the world’s top five at the time.
US OPEN JUNIOR CHAMPION
In mid-2002, Murray began playing the qualifying of Futures events, failing however, to make it through to any main draws. In 2003 he played a combined schedule of junior and senior events, and reached the last 16 of the French Open juniors. Having received a wildcard into the main draw of the Challenger at Manchester, he won two matches and gained his first world ranking at No. 774.
After reaching the last 16 of the Nottingham Challenger in early November, Murray went to play a Futures event in Gran Canaria. There though, he suffered the major setback of a serious knee injury, which kept him out of competition for the next seven months. Age 16, he finished 2003 ranked No. 540.
Having turned 17 and with little preparation, Murray made little impact on his return to the tour. By then he had split with Smith and was being coached by Pato Alvarez, a then-69-year-old Colombian coach from Sanchez-Casal’s.
Having failed to secure a wildcard into Wimbledon, Murray then headed back to continental Europe. In August he won two of the four Futures events he played in Spain and Italy, and then headed to New York to play the junior US Open.
As a result of his European success, when Murray arrived in New York he was match-ready and eager to make up for the time he’d lost out through injury. He won the tournament, beating amongst others, Juan Martin del Potro, and then Sergiy Stakhovsky in the final. Following the US Open, Murray returned to Europe, where he won back-to-back Spanish Futures and age 17 and ended 2004 world No. 411.
INSIDE THE TOP-100
2005 started off poorly for Murray who made little impact on the South American Challenger clay court circuit, in which he and Alvarez had decided he should compete. Because of these poor results, and partly because of the age difference between them, he then decided to split with Alvarez.
In June Murray lost to Marin Cilic in the semi-finals of the French Open juniors, but having won matches in a mixture of Futures and Challenger events, was ranked just outside the world’s Top 300. He then teamed up for the grass court season with British coach and former world No. 80, Mark Petchey.
After receiving wildcards and reaching the third rounds of the main draws at both Queen’s and Wimbledon, Murray moved inside the Top 200.
He then qualified and reached the second round of the US Open, before reaching the final of the ATP event in Bangkok, where he lost to Roger Federer. In October he entered the Top 100 and age 18 and ended 2005 ranked No. 64.
THREE-TIME GRAND SLAM FINALIST AND WORLD NUMBER TWO
In February 2006 Murray beat Lleyton Hewitt in the San Jose final to win his first ATP title, and entered the Top 50. He reached the fourth round at both Wimbledon and the US Open, but then decided to split from Petchey. In September he teamed up with Brad Gilbert, who had previously been the coach of Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, and ended the year No. 17.
2007 started well for Murray who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and the semifinals of the Masters Series events at both Indian Wells and Miami; results which lifted him into the world’s Top 10.
Disaster struck in May though, when at the Hamburg Masters, he suffered a wrist injury which kept him out of action for the next four months. Despite being unable to play at the French Open or Wimbledon, he still ended the year ranked No. 11.
At the end of 2007 Murray announced his split from Gilbert, and the appointment of a new team of coaches, led by Miles Maclagan, and physical trainers to help him. In early 2008 he returned to the Top 10, winning titles at Doha and Marseille before losing to Nadal in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Murray then won the Masters event at Cincinnati, and at the US Open reached his first Grand Slam final, losing there to Federer. At age 21, he ended 2008 ranked world number four.
Murray began the 2009 season fantastically, beating Andy Roddick in the final of Doha, and then Nadal in the final of Rotterdam. He then reached the final at Indian Wells, losing there to Nadal after beating Federer in the semifinals, and the following week beat Novak Djokovic in the final of the Miami Masters. These results lifted him to world number three.
After winning Queen’s, Murray then lost to Nadal in the semifinals of Wimbledon, but then won the Masters event at Montreal. In August at age 22, he reached a career-high ranking of world number two.
Murray reached the final of the 2010 Australian Open, losing there to Federer, again reached and lost to Nadal in the semifinals of Wimbledon, before winning Masters titles at Toronto and Shanghai. Having lost in a third set tie-break to Nadal in the semifinals of the end-of-year ATP World Tour finals, at age 23, Murray ended 2010 world number four.
In 2011 Murray lost to Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open, and the semifinals at Monte Carlo, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open, all to Nadal. He then won three consecutive titles in Asia, including the Shanghai Masters, and rose once again to world number three. Having been forced to withdraw from the ATP World Tour Finals with a groin injury at age 24, he ended the year world number four.
In December Murray announced the appointment of eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl as his coach.
COMING OF AGE
2012 saw Murray lose in five grueling sets in the semifinal of the Australian Open to Djokovic, the finals at Dubai and Miami, and the quarerfinals at the French – hardly the sign, from a British perspective, of the amazing things which were to happen in the following months.
Having lost to the unheralded Nicolas Mahut in his first match at the pre-Wimbledon event at Queen’s Club, few would have believed Murray a genuine contender for SW19, particularly when he was handed with one of the hardest draws imaginable.
Incredibly though, Murray defeated Nikolay Davydenko, Ivo Karlovic, Marcos Baghdatis, Marin Cilic, David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga en route to becoming the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final since 1938. And at a set and break point up in the second against Federer, it appeared that Murray was poised to become the first British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the Championships.
Alas for Murray, Federer upped his game, held serve, leveled the match at one set all, and went on to complete a four-set victory.
A month later, Murray faced Federer once again on Wimbledon Centre Court in the final of the London Olympics. This time Murray ran out a straight-sets winner to collect the gold medal.
As if this wasn’t enough for the Scot, he then claimed his first Grand Slam title, beating defending champion Djokovic in the final of the US Open.
Having lost to Djokovic in the final of the 2013 Australian Open, Murray returned to world number two in March, after winning his ninth Masters Series title beating David Ferrer in the final at Miami.
Murray struggled with a back injury throughout the European clay court season, and at one set all against Marcel Granollers in the second round of the Rome Masters, was forced to withdraw – an injury which caused him to then miss the French Open.
Returning to the tour in June, Murray won Queen’s, and was seeded No. 2 for the Championships.
Having made his way to the final with the loss of just three sets, Murray overcame world No. 1 Djokovic in three straight sets to become the first British man in 77 years to win the men’s singles title.
Following Wimbledon, Murray has won 28 career ATP titles and earned almost $30 million in on-court prize money.
WILL ANDY MURRAY END 2013 WORLD NO. 1?
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