Fred Perry was a fantastic British sportsman, best known for his lawn tennis performances. It is doubtful that many people are aware that he also represented England in table tennis. He won the World Table Tennis Championship at Budapest in 1929, in the individual category, and helped his team win a bronze medal in the team event. But his feats in lawn tennis were far greater. Perry won 8 grand slams, including 3 consecutive Wimbledon championships from 1934 to 1936 and he held the position of world’s no. 1 player for four years.
After Fred Perry, Great Britain had to wait for 77 years before someone from their soil could win the coveted championship. On 7 July 2013, Andy Murray created history, when he won the 2013 Wimbledon crown and became the first British player since Fred Perry to do so. He defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets and brought a nation-wide cheer that night. In 2012 too, Murray had a chance but he was up against the might of the great Roger Federer. The great Swiss won the 2012 Wimbledon to reach a personal record and denied Murray and Britain a great opportunity. Murray, however, took his revenge soon afterwards in the 2012 London Olympics, where he defeated Federer in straight sets and won the gold medal. He won another Olympic medal, when he and his mixed doubles partner Laura Robson won the silver in the team event.
Murray has breathed new life to tennis in Britain, a nation from where the game actually originated. As of this time, the 26 year old Scot is ranked no. 4 in the world and no. 1 in Britain. Last night, he was honored with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. But he could not present himself in person at the ceremonial function. A few days earlier, he had missed another award ceremony, after being named as the winner of the sportsman of the year gong at the Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA). But Andy Murray expressed his gratitude to SJA in a previously recorded video clip. Murray missed lot of tennis practice, including some ATP events, since he had to undergo a back surgery in September this year. It had been a nagging problem for him for almost two years and he made the decision about surgery on the advice of his doctors. But just a few days before, he was to be operated, he played a major role in ensuring that Great Britain reached the World Group in Davis Cup for the first time since 2008. The Wimbledon champion defeated Ivan Dodig of Croatia in the first reverse singles on September 15, 2013 to give Britain a 3-1 unassailable lead. As per reports, Murray was offered a chance to rest in the Davis Cup tie against Croatia, but he insisted on playing because he didn’t want to be labeled as unpatriotic for any reason. On September 23, the doctors operated him for a nagging problem in his lower spine.
After recuperating from surgery, Murray has been training in Miami and he will do so every day until Christmas. His first professional encounter will be in Abu Dhabi, where he plays Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on the Boxing Day. Murray’s next stop will be Doha to play in an ATP event, which also features Nadal and Djokovic. Murray has not ruled himself out of Australian Open yet, but the final decision could be dictated by his performance at Abu Dhabi and Doha.
In a long time, Murray has emerged as the first British player to be staying within the top five ATP rankings. He finished runners up in five grand slams since 2008 US open. And he has generally lost only to Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, the very best in the world.
Murray could not have had a better coach than In Ivan Lendl, who has been with him since the start of the 2012 season. The guy has certain features in his game, which many tennis players lack. As per Paul Annacone, Murray is gifted with a counterpuncher’s ability and he has an array of groundstrokes with a very low error rate. He has better anticipation than many and his reaction time is amazing quick. This has enabled him to consistently produce winners from defensive positions. In many ways, he resembles Slovakian Miloslav Mecir, who had the best double-handed backhand in his days. Some people say that Murray can craft the best lob in the game today. He also has a tactical weapon in engaging his opponents in the exchange of passive groundstrokes from the baseline and then suddenly speeding up the pace to enforce errors. Many critics regard Murray as endowed with surprising agility and executing his shots with great hand-eye coordination. Tennis champions are made by their high level of mental strength. Game-wise, many players can match Federer Nadal and Djokovic in stamina and all-round play but they are known to falter in closing stages. It is here that Murray is different. He has developed an ability to match the mind game of the big three. And this is, precisely, why he has been able to reach such highs in the game of tennis.
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