So Andy Murray lost to Andy Roddick, Roddick lost to Roger Federer, tennis is the same as it has been for the last six years and Rafael Nadal's 2008 Wimbledon victory seems like a distant memory at best and a mistake at worst. But despite Murray's failure to carry on the post-Federer revolution that Nadal started last year, people expect more from the Scot. Murray is, after all, still the third best player in the world. And he's still riding high on the novelty of being a Brit who's actually good at tennis.
He copes admirably with the bonkers hype that sexless, middle-aged people project onto him for being as good as any Brit since Fred Perry. He’s come an undeniably long way in a short period of time: from boy, to man. And his intentions are clear: success. He sure doesn't lose much anymore, like he did here against tennis' first pirate, Rafael Nadal:
Instead, he's pushing Nadal and Roger Federer (with his twatty white cardigan) all the way. Each year he gets closer. December 2005, he was 65th in the world. By the end of '06, he was 17th and one of two people to beat Federer that year. The other was Nadal. It was Murray’s first time:
He ended 2007 ranked 12th, and by early ’08 he infiltrated the top eight. He was given a lesson in strength by Nadal at Wimbledon that summer, but found himself in the US Open final in September. He lost, to Federer, but it was progress:
Today, he's fourth in the world behind Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic. But he’s had to grow, physically, to get where he is. He pumps iron. He runs. He practices relentlessly. And he ingests 5800 calories a day, which is nothing on man-giant Michael Phelps, but still over double the recommended daily average for men. He’s also had to grow mentally, and lose the grumpy petulance associated with him because of incidents like giving (then) coach, Brad Gilbert, a sarcastic thumbs up and some abuse in 2007:
Those days are gone. Murray has signed up with David Beckham's management team, 19 Entertainment. They're owned by Simon Fuller, the man behind the Spice Girls inexplicably becoming the biggest band in the world. So it's unlikely you'll see any more pre-pubescent awkwardness in the style of Murray's presumable prearranged meeting with Will Ferrel (skip to 1:10):
And more of the giggle-fests, like on Jonathan Ross:
But it’s kind of cool that he doesn't whore himself to the tabloids. And kind of cool that all he wants is to win, and win big. Murray is a kid no more. And it's not impossible that a spotty Scot with goofy teeth, a fluffy beard, fuzzy hair and pasty limbs could win Wimbledon this year. Which might be nice. And if he does, you’ll get some more of this: