The New Year’s Honors list of Queen Elizabeth-II on Friday included several British sportspersons, three among whom were; world’s no.1 tennis player Andrew Barron Murray, celebrated long-distance runner Mo Farah and heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill. Murray will now be Sir Andy after being knighted for his tumultuous performance in tennis. While Murray and Mo Farah won back-to-back Olympic gold medals for their super performance in London and Rio, Dame-hood claimer Jessica Ennis-Hills won Heptathlon gold in London and silver at Rio. Besides performance in Olympic Games, the three sportspersons also excelled in their fields by maintaining consistently good show at world-stage. There is little doubt, therefore, about their latest recognition as worthy recipients of one of the most prestigious civil honors in Great Britain.
Arise, Sir Andy! The 29-year old world no.1 Murray became a knight on Friday and it was an apt conclusion for his sensational tennis exploits in the latter half of 2016. Ironically, however, the British star doesn’t want to be called Sir Andy just yet. Murray told a source that being addressed as Sir Andy at Wimbledon might make him uncomfortable and he would request the All-England Tennis Organizers to eschew his new title during the matches this year. Besides a phenomenal record-breaking Olympic performance, Murray was crowned world no.1 for the first time during 2016 and earned the honor of being named as BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year for a record third time. In October 2013, Murray had received an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) after ending a 77-year wait for a British Wimbledon Champion. But he surpassed everything done previously in 2016 to become the 17th different man and first Britisher to end the season as world’s top-ranked tennis player. Here is a chronology of Andy Murray’s 2016 tennis performance that culminated with his attaining the no.1 rank and finally the knighthood.
Murray began the 2016 season at Perth, where he played in Hopman Cup with Heather Watson. The British pair finished second after losing to eventual champions Australians Nick Kyrgios and Daria Gavrilova. From Perth, Murray went to Melbourne in the quest for his first Australian Open title after 4 runners-up finishes. He did reach the final but lost to Novak Djokovic, who won at Melbourne for a record-equaling sixth time. His next assignment was Davis Cup quarterfinals with Japan and Murray recorded victories in both singles and took Britain to the semifinals. Afterwards, he played in the year’s first Masters 1000 Tournament at Indian Wells but made a third-round exit after losing to Argentina’s Federico Delbonis. In Miami 1000 Masters that followed, Murray suffered another third-round loss against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov. Murray reached the semifinals of 2016 Monte-Carlo Masters but lost to Rafael Nadal, who went on to win the tournament. In Mutua Madrid Open next, Murray entered the final as defending champion but fell at the final hurdle to Djokovic. After this defeat, Murray slipped to no.3 in world rankings. However, he reclaimed the no.2 spot at the Rome Masters by beating Djokovic. Then came the year’s second Grand Slam, the French Open. Murray kept struggling at Roland Garros but still reached the final, where Djokovic beat him again to win his first-ever French Open title.
To begin the grass season, Murray recorded his 5th Queen’s Club title-triumph by defeating Canada’s Milos Raonic in the final. It was here that Murray began a huge turnaround of the Year 2016. He won the Wimbledon crown for the second time by outclassing Raonic in the final and went to Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games. By winning the gold medal, Murray became the only player, male or female, to win two singles Olympic gold medals. In the final, Murray prevailed over Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro after an over 4-hour marathon. After Rio, Murray played in Davis Cup semifinal against Argentina at Glasgow. Murray featured in three matches but lost the first singles to del Potro. Despite winning the doubles with brother Jamie and singles against Guido Pella, Murray couldn’t prevent Argentina from reaching the finals. Murray won his fifth and sixth titles of 2016 by taking the China and Shanghai Open Tournaments.
By now, Murray was unstoppable and he extended his winning streak to 15 matches by also claiming the Erste Bank Open. When Murray entered the Paris Masters, he knew he could become the world no.1 by winning if Djokovic failed to reach the final. Murray got lucky as Djokovic lost to Marin Cilic and Murray reached the final. He was already the world no.1 before his eventual victory. The Brit still faced the threat of being unseated from the summit as he entered the year-end ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena. Djokovic could reclaim his no.1 ranking by winning the Tour-Finals. But Murray not only reached his first ever World Tour Finals, he also finished as winner by defeating Djokovic.
The Knighthood for Murray capped a highly successful 2016 for him as he ended the year with a career-best nine tour-level titles, an Olympic gold, a second Wimbledon crown and the first ever victory in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals. That also ensured that Murray retained his no.1 ranking.
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