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.

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.

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Andy Murray after his Wimbledon win in 2013. Picture: Wikipedia user DanielJCooper

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.

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Andy Murray celebrates a win at Wimbledon. Picture: Wikipedia user Ianmacm.

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.

Andy Murray Ups the Anti, Post-Surgery.

With Scotland’s sporting hero Andy Murray off the courts after hip surgery, sporting enthusiasts and those more inclined to keep up with the Kardashians have become curious; when will he be back? And more so, will he make it back to number one?

In true Murray style, he responded to the question of if he’ll return to the big leagues by saying, “If I can get myself to 95% of my best, I believe that’s enough to compete at the highest level. No question.”

Andy post-operation with his coach Jamie Delgado/ Image Credit: Andy Murray on Instagram.

Although he seems to have no questions, his goals could potentially hinder his progression in competition when he eventually comes back.

Goals so extreme are often found to carry a huge amount of pressure; not only is the plan to progress from bed-ridden to professionally training before June – a monumental amount of work. But announcing it to the world automatically puts the spotlight on you.

During training, the stress may or may not be just as prominent, because any issues faced behind closed doors are more–or–less hidden. But once an athlete is pushed into the spotlight and their performance criticized, stress becomes significantly worse.

Elizabeth Ryan, practitioner for sports psychology company Ice Cool Confidence explained just how this pressure comes to a head during competition.

She said: “It really depends on how they deal with the coverage and if they are comfortable with it or not, but I do think it adds to the pressure.

“I recently coached a figure skater who was being followed around by a TV crew. It can have a negative impact on a skater’s performance when a camera is on them and a microphone is thrust at them.

“When an athlete is under pressure their performance can suffer because they are unable to focus on the job at hand.

“Allowing head space for anxieties, nerves and pressure can result in decreased confidence, which can then lead to basic errors. These in turn lower the confidence further and produce more mistakes.”

So with Murray’s confidence making headlines, telling tales of hoping to be back by June and getting the number one spot back, it may well backfire as the pressure mounts.

Murray hopes to be back by July/Image Credit: Andy Murray on Instagram.

On the contrary, his confidence may also be down to feeling the benefits of the surgery.

Speaking to journalists on a conference call, he said “The rest of my body feels fantastic. I feel really, really good physically apart from this one issue.

“The surgery allows me to extend my hip well, and I’ll be able to sprint.”

The improvements he’s feeling could balance out some of the pressure put on him, but until he makes it back onto the court, the sporting career of one of Scotland’s most successful athletes hangs in the balance.

Arise Sir Andy?

 

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Andy Murray for Knighthood? What do you think?

 

Andy Murray has had the best season of his career. Fact. Winning Wimbledon is pinnacle for any British tennis player, but to double up and retain Olympic gold in Team GBs most successful Olympic Games ever, that makes him more than a nation’s sweetheart, that makes him a hero. No matter how dull he may come across.

But the question is, where does Murray go from here?

Roger Federer won his final gran slam at age 32, beating Murray in the final of Wimbledon and with Murray turning 30, has he reached his peak?

We hope not.

Looking at his Grand Slam form, Murray reached all but one of the the finals this year, a feat he has never managed previously. Under the guidance of coach Jamie Delgado, we have seen Murray go from strength to strength, long may it continue.

With Novak Djokovic leading the way for the past few years at number one in the ATP world ranking, Murray managed to overturn the Serb’s run of form, and take the top spot out of 2016. Furthermore it looks like Murray is the tope contender for BBC Sports Personality of the year, having won previously in 2013 and 2015.

One of the big questions that hangs over Murray is whether or not he will be knighted. only one British tennis player has ever bee knighted, Sir Norman Brookes in 1939. So, will Andy Murray become the youngest Knight of the Realm? Only Her Majesty will decide.

 

Top 10 Scottish Athletes Of All Time

While Scotland might not be the biggest country in the world, we have managed to punch well above our weight in science, sports and technology. Many of our biggest names have been athletes, and in light of Andy Murray’s recent anointment as tennis’s world number 1, here are our personal picks of the best Scottish athletes.

1 – Sir Chris Hoy

 

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Chris Hoy (pictured) on the top podium, as usual.

 

An easy pick from us. Hoy was Scotland’s biggest representative on the world stage as he peddled to glory between 2000 to 2012 Olympic Games. He went on to win the most gold medals for a British Olympian and second overall in the British medal tally.

2 – Sir Jackie “Flying Scot” Stewart

 

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The Scottish driver flew into a respectable second spot

 

Formula 1 legend and Britain’s most successful driver in terms of overall titles. While he was successful in going for glory, he also pushed hard for better safety precautions for drivers when 2/3s of drivers had a chance of dying in a five year career.

3 – Kenny Dalglish (MBE)

 

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“King Kenny” cantered into third

 

Scotland’s joint leading scorer and all time most capped player. Managed to shake up club football with his spells on both sides of the border; plundering goals for Celtic and Liverpool.  Also had fruitful periods as a manager, winning the “double” for Liverpool and also a league title with Blackburn Rovers.

4 – Andy Murray (OBE)

 

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Still time to spare for him to push further up the list – watch this space.

 

Current world number 1 at Tennis and the first British athlete to do so. The oldest athlete to become number 1 but will hold it for the remainder of 2016 after seeing off Novak Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Finals.

5- David Wilkie (MBE)

 

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Also current holder of En4News’s pick as 5th best athlete.

 

Only person to have held British, American, Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic swimming titles at the same time.

6- Allan Wells (MBE)

The Scottish sprinter nabbed golds at the Olympic Games, IAAF World Cup, European Cups and Commonwealth Games in the 100 and 200m.

7- Dennis Law (CBE)

Joint record scorer for Scotland’s football team (we will touch on the other joint scorer later on) and Manchester United’s third highest scorer. He is the only Scottish player to win a Ballon d’Or, doing so in 1964.

8- Isabel Newstead (NBE)

May not be the first name on the tip of your tongue but this Paralympic athlete was a jack of all trades in her competitive career. Isabel won golds across three  disciplines – Six Golds, one Silver and two Bronze medals in Swimming; Three Golds and one Bronze medal in Shooting; One Gold, three Silvers and one Bronze medal in Track and Field.

9 – Graeme Randall (MBE)

Second ever male from the UK to hold a world title in judo (1999).

10 – Eric Liddell

You may have heard of him via the movie that depicted him – Chariots of Fire. Won Gold for Britain at the Olympic Games in 1924 in Paris but was more notable for his religious beliefs. He was known for refusing to compete in his preferred 100m heats as they were hosted on a Sunday, forcing him to compete on a weekday in the 400m heats – which he went on to win. Chose to be a missionary in China over competing in the Olympics again.

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