Quite a few years ago now, a young Andy Murray came to play the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand. He played Mario Ancic in the third round? He was a fiery lad. He played with so much passion and determination. But he had a very weak serve. He served up two consecutive double faults and responded by throwing his racket down, balling up his fists, and screaming up at the sky: “UNBELEIVABLEEEEE!!!”
He was so infuriated with himself. So emotional. A murmur traveled through the crowd, and at home in front of the telly I sat watching this kid lose it.
He went on to lose that match. But I remember, clear as day, sitting there thinking to myself, and having no one to say it to, “This boy is gonna go far”.
His match had given me no reason to think this except that I saw something in him that every champion has. Guts. Passion. Drive.
People joke about how Murray lacks personality. But he has so much of it, that at times he has found it hard to contain himself on court, like on that day. The work he has put in in recent years to not only give himself a fighting chance, but to become a champion, finding his serve, learning emotional stability on court when the pressure is on, has lead him to this match, this win. Wimbledon 2013.
He played some impossible points today that I will never forget as long as I live. He may not remember them! But I will never forget how he started conquering those drop shots that Djokovic had been pulling out all through the third set. He wasn’t reaching them, and then HE REALLY WAS.
And he was smashing them.
That resilience, fire power, sheer determination, is the reason he is finally Wimbledon champion.
He has come so far, worked so hard, and deserves this more than anyone ever has. And I mean that with everything I have.
Today, having watched in the wee small hours from my little town in the North Island of New Zealand, I have never been more proud to be Scottish. I have never been more proud to be British.
Thank you Andy Murray for never giving up, for giving everything to achieve your potential. For believing in yourself like I always have.